Client: Improvisational short film
Shot at an old Soviet hotel in the heart of Odessa, PASSAGE provides us a glimpse into the lives of some of its occupants. The film is part love story and part impressionistic mood piece. It sets out to capture the unique sense of nostalgic longing and quiet resignation that seems to permeate so much of this world.
This improvisational short film screened for a private audience at the Museum of Cinematography in Antwerp.
Shot at an old Soviet hotel in the heart of Odessa, PASSAGE sets out to capture the unique sense of nostalgic longing and quiet resignation that seems to permeate so much of this world. The entirety of the film is shot at Hotel Passage, one of Odessa’s few remaining 19th Century ‘grand’ hotels, that today wears the worn patina of Odessa’s soviet occupation. Its enormous hallways and Baroque detailing, worn through neglect and the passage of time, contributes to an overall sense of a place lost to the past. Its sparsely occupied hallways, quiet but for the occasional footsteps and background noise, and the repetitive and deliberate movements of its few occupants, mostly workers, contributes to a ghostly quality we tried to capture within the film and which we found metaphorically consonant with our experience in the Ukraine overall.
We shot PASSAGE over the course of a week, during the off hours of scouting a documentary feature. This is our third improvisational short, in which we proceeded without script, shot list or predetermined cast, to allow setting and circumstance shape the story’s unfolding. Unplanned and unpredicted, we began with the initial idea of capturing the essence of a hotel’s memory, and through it perhaps gain glimpses into the souls of its occupants. What we found was a sort of song – a metaphor for souls held captive to daily routine, that speaks both to a nostalgia for past and lost memories, and a yearning to emerge from that past to embrace a fresh but unknown future.
PASSAGE is neither a documentary nor a narrative short. It is an experimental film, both in method and approach. We allowed the hotel and its occupants to speak and act for themselves and direct the story towards its own conclusion. In some ways an experiment in storytelling, what we have ended up with is an intimate portrait of place. But not one that was reached through the clever language of a script or manipulations of an actor, but one that transpired through giving the original concept the space it needed to play out at will.