Hotel der Diktatoren

(Hotel of the Dictators)

/ 2015
Documentary / 16 min / Colored

Director:Florian Hoffmann
Cinematography: Florian Hoffmann
Producer: Martina Knapheide (dffb)
Production: Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin - dffb

In the midst of the war-ravaged Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, the visitor finds a place: The people call it ‘The Hotel with 500 rooms’. Kaiser Bokasse started the construction of the hotel to accommodate his friends and family. But he died before it was finished. His follower Patassé became victim of a military putsch before he could finish the hotel. Its last owner was Gadaffi. After a long period of reconstruction, he wanted to open the gates himself. But he was taken by surprise by the “Arab spring” just one week before the celebratory date. Over night the hotel lost its patron. But the traces of the different regimes remain – symbolized by the concrete structures of the hotel. So today the Hotel stands abandoned behind its high walls. We walk through the deserted rooms and the hallway – everything is ready for the arrival of noble guests. It seems… I accompany the gardener who waters the forecourt for the absent guests. The security guard who leaves his uniform in the wardrobe for now. And I meet the Tunisian manager of the hotel, Sliman, who does not get to take part in the events in his home country, because he has to take care of his ghost hotel. Together we wait for a message from the new owners in the home country. What will be their decision about the destiny of this palace and its employees? And what do you do with a five-star hotel in a country without any tourists? Or maybe more importantly: When will the situation after the “Arab Spring” be clear enough for the hotel to come to life? Until then this absurd picture remains: Frozen luxury in the midst of absolute poverty.

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