Hotel Meina

It's a sad day when a vet helmer like Carlo Lizzani takes a film to Venice as poor as "Hotel Meina."

With:
With: Benjamin Sadler, Ursula Bushhorn, Danilo Nigrelli, Marta Bifano, Federico Costantini, Ivana Lotito, Buse Butz, Ernesto Mahieux, Majlinda Agaj, Eugenio Allegri, Silvia Cohen, Diana Collepiccolo, Elia Donghi, Simone Colombari, Giancarlo Judica Cordiglia, Massimiliano Di Grazia, Fiamma Ferzetti, Marco Fubini, Fabio Ghidoni, Anna Maria Loliva, Ralph Palka.

It’s a sad day when a vet helmer like Carlo Lizzani takes a film to Venice as poor as “Hotel Meina.” Little more than a bad TV movie, pic tackles the true story of Jews rounded up in a hotel on Lake Maggiore in 1943 and the false tale of the German woman who tried to save them. Ill-conceived and poorly acted, with an ending in particularly bad taste, pic is eons away from the 85-year-old director’s 1954 Cannes winner “Chronicle of Poor Lovers.” Sole takers will be undiscriminating smallscreen auds at home.

A group of Greek Jews take refuge in a hotel owned by the Jewish, Turkish-born Giorgio Benar (Danilo Nigrelli). Commandeered by SS officer Hans Krassler (Benjamin Sadler), the Nazis set up headquarters and imprison the Jews in their rooms until they can decide how to dispose of them. German resistance fighter Erika Bern (Ursula Bushhorn) tries to help, but her screamingly obvious bad-spy act is unsustainable. Completely lacking in tension or originality, pic is also brought low by old-fashioned dubbing and a schmaltzy soundtrack, including an egregious misuse of Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll.”

Hotel Meina

Italy-Serbia-Montenegro-France

Production: A Mikado release (in Italy) of a Titania Produzioni (Italy)/Film 87 (Serbia-Montenegro)/Plaza Film (France) production, in collaboration with RAI Cinema. (International sales: Rai Trade, Rome.) Produced by Ida di Benedetto, Stefania Bifano, Piero Amati, Jacques Strauss. Directed by Carlo Lizzani. Screenplay, Dino Leonardo Gentili, Filippo Gentili, Pasquale Squitieri, with the collaboration of Lizzani, based on the novel by Marco Nozza.

Crew: Camera (color), Claudio Sabatini; editor, Massimo Quaglia; music, Luis Bacalov; production designer, Tonino Zera; costume designer, Catia Dottori. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (noncompeting), Sept. 1, 2007. Running time: 119 MIN.

With: With: Benjamin Sadler, Ursula Bushhorn, Danilo Nigrelli, Marta Bifano, Federico Costantini, Ivana Lotito, Buse Butz, Ernesto Mahieux, Majlinda Agaj, Eugenio Allegri, Silvia Cohen, Diana Collepiccolo, Elia Donghi, Simone Colombari, Giancarlo Judica Cordiglia, Massimiliano Di Grazia, Fiamma Ferzetti, Marco Fubini, Fabio Ghidoni, Anna Maria Loliva, Ralph Palka.

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