I have now watched Hotel Chevalier twice, once on a 17 inch computer screen and once on an iPod. Both experiences made me sad not to have seen the movie projected in a theater, and so I really hope that it will eventually be included in screenings of The Darjeeling Limited. Hotel Chevalier is filled with well-observed moments that really work dramatically, like Jason S. frantically cleaning up when he learns that Natalie P. is soon to arrive, and the line Jason S. tells her about never wanting to be her friend, and the substitution of looking out at a view of Paris for lovemaking. I have never had any affection for Anderson's films and their obsessive affectation, but I find this little video is growing on me, and I could see myself changing my mind about his oeuvre. That Peter Starsedt song, "Where Do You Go To My Lovely," is to this film as California Dreamin' is to Chungking Express. It infects your brain even after the film has ended, and you want to play it again just as the character in the film does.
It also occurs to me that HC is very similar in form to a New Yorker short story, and that the format really suits Anderson's approach to visual detail and keen observation. In a short form motifs stand out, and your when your attention isn't strained by a longer narrative you can appreciate little things more. Anderson, like Alice Munro or John Updike, is a storyteller whose smallest details reward attention.