2019 Co-production with Best Before Filmproduction and RV Films
Film by Ragunath Vasudevan, Nathaniel Knop, Peter Rippl | Germany 88 min HD
Supported by Hessische Filmförderung, Akademie der Künste
Festivals: 2019 Full Frame Documentary Festival, 2019 Lichter Filmfest (Audience-Award)
THE WATSON’S HOTEL is a haunting biography of a building. As one of the first luxury hotels in India, its cast-iron construction was completely pre-fabricated in England and shipped and assembled in Mumbai. Completed in 1863, it was a symbol of the superiority of the British Empire. The hotel was the setting for the Lumière brothers‘ presentation of the cinematograph in 1896. The year marks the arrival of cinema on the Indian subcontinent. The film essay shows what has become of the hotel over the decades. It portrays people living and working today in the neglected building, showing a microcosm of India in a non-decaying iron skeleton of colonialism. THE WATSON’S HOTEL is an exploration of a building that could bear witness to a difficult colonial and postcolonial history – if it does not fall. But how can and should one preserve such a symbolic building? A tiny cosmos in a building, where colonial heritage, film history and today’s India meet. The building today, which is a complete ruin is juxtaposed with the daily life of the people occupying.