ITALY, SWISS, POLAND, FRANCE
2023 – color – 94’
Direction: Roman Polanski
Screenplay: Jerzy Skolimowski, Ewa Piaskowska, Roman Polanski
Cinematography: Pawe? Edelman
Editing: Hervé De Luze
Set design: Tonino Zera
Original musics: Alexandre Desplat
Costumes: Carlo Poggioli
Cast: Oliver Masucci (Hansueli), Fanny Ardant (marquise), John Cleese (Arthur William Dallas III), Bronwyn James (Magnolia), Joaquim De Almeida (dott. dr Lima), Luca Barbareschi (Bongo), Milan Peschel (Caspar Tell), Fortunato Cerlino (Tonino), Mickey Rourke (Bill Crush), Luisiana Kornuta Steffen (mrs Lima), Danny Exnar (Vaclav), Irina Kastrinidis (Vaclav Vaclav’s wife), Alexander Petrov, Danylo Kotov, Anton Pampushnyy (Russian guests), Ilia Volok (Russian ambassador), Marina Strakhova, Ema Kovac, Michelle Shapa, Stefania Seimur, Olga Kent (Russian girls), Matthew Reynolds (drunk), Massiga Diawara (upset guest), Naike Silipo (Tonino’s assistant), Morgane Polanski (Zula), Sina Christen (Precy), Felix Mayr ( plumber), Beatrice Frey (mrs Frautschi), Davide Gagliardi (barman), Nicolò Senni (maître d’hotel), Teco Celio (chef), Mokhtar Bouzana (Master Ravi), Angelica Barbareschi, Philip Hauser (receptionist), Sergey Grab, Ingo Raudkivi, Mike Rey (Russian bodyguards), Dean Colin Mackay (Magnolia’s guest), Sydne Rome ( mrs Robinson), Januaria Piromallo (Alice)
Producers: Luca Barbareschi with Wojciech Gostomczyk, Jean-Louis Porchet
Production: Èliseo Entertainment Moving Emotions Production (It) with Rai Cinema (It), Cab Productions (Ch), Lucky Bob (Pl), RP Productions (Fr)
Once upon a time, there was and still is, the Palace Hotel, a building with a gothic, fairy-tale atmosphere where rich, pampered and spoiled guests annually meet up from all over the world. One unrepeatable event that brought them all together was the 2000 New Year’s Eve party. Serving their extravagant needs was an array of waiters, porters, cooks and receptionists.
But hovering in the air was the Millennium Bug and the fear or hope that at the stroke of midnight the accounts of big financiers would not suffer unexpected instability due to the blocking up of computer systems.
Indeed, what was brewing was in actuality a war fought over the extravagance and eccentricities of the hotel guests: dogs and penguins with human needs and humans with animal needs.
“For almost half a century I have been visiting a place in Switzerland where there is a luxury hotel, known as the Gstaad Palace, which belongs to the 5-star superior category. I have observed the life of this hotel, where the extremely wealthy and polyglot elite stay, surrounded by the hotel’s working class. These two worlds are, in their own way, hilarious even sometimes grotesque. Everything separates them, starting with their political views. The only thing that unties them is the figure of the hotel manager, who takes care of everyone, trying to please everybody to the point of sometimes kissing the feet of both customers and subordinates. With diplomatic skill, he finds a way out of the most unlikely situations. I was once invited to spend New Year’s Eve at this hotel. It was the eve of the year 2000, in the midst of the general panic caused by rumors about the “millennium bug” that was supposed to bring about the end of the computer world. I watch in full the absurdity carousel that was spinning. The idea of making a film about this exotic world came to me immediately. It was to be a comedy, a bit brusque and sarcastic, harsh toward the characters in the film, but not without a touch of indulgence and sympathy.
For various reasons, I put this project off for years. Now, nearing my 90th birthday, I told myself that I could indulge in it and that there was no better time like the present.
“Everything was going to be so good.
When, seconds after midnight in the last time zone, it was discovered that Y2K was just a pipe dream, for a while the world was overwhelmed with euphoria.
The world economy was looking great.
Medicine would invent a cure for a deadly epidemic.
Terrorism subsided, seemingly extinct forever.
A young president took power in the former Soviet Union, promising the country freedom, prosperity and the rule of law.
No one paid attention to the raven flying over the Alps.
The raven that flew over the Atlantic Ocean.
On September 11, 2001, it landed hard into the heart of New York City.”
2023 Mostra di Venezia – Official Selection out of Competition
2023 El Gouna Film Festival – Official Selection out of Competition
2023 Zurich Film Festival – Gala Premieres