"Hors saison" is a co-production between France, Switzerland and Germany from 1992, so this 1.5-hour film has its 25th anniversary this year. It is one of the more known filmmaking efforts by writer and director Daniel Schmid and also one of his final works before his death briefly before the start of the new millennium. He is just one of several people attached to this project that worked with Rainer Werner Fassbinder on several occasions. This is the story of a man returning to his childhood home as an adult and he finds out that the hotel where he spent a big deal of his formative years as a boy is about to be torn down. He returns there and as he walks through the rooms, we see the memories he has about this special location that was so full of life back then and is just a ruin in the present. I really like the premise here. It has a great deal of melancholy to it and this general idea is also what was decisive for me in giving the film a positive rating. As for the flashback scenes, I was mostly not too impressed with the characters, stories or plot developments. I think in terms of costumes, sets, makeup etc. it is a pretty decent achievement overall, but the writing could have been better at times. So it is tough for me to decide if I am somewhat glad these 90 minutes turned out okay or if I should be sad that it is a bit of a missed opportunity for a really great movie and one of the best from early 1990s Europe. Anyway, I am not sure if the original language here is French or German. Information regarding that differ, but the film exists in both versions. The German title would be "Zwischensaison", the international title is "Off Season", but I believe it is probably not too easy to get a hand on this film outside Central Europe, let alone from another continent. This one was also Switzerland's official submission to the Academy Awards that year, but it did not manage the nomination, which is fine on the one hand because it is not a great film, but maybe it is also not worse than 2 of the other nominees perhaps. All in all, I give a cautious thumbs-up. Go check it out.
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