The Netherlands 2017
Opening June 21, 2018
Directed by: Ineke Houtman
Writing credits: Sjoerd Kuyper
Principal actors: Julian Ras, Abbey Hoes, Bente Fokkens, Jorge Gonzales
Kos (Julian Ras) is 13 and he, along with his three sisters, must take over management of the family hotel when their father has a heart attack and ends up in the hospital. Four siblings who were often exasperated at each other’s sense of need or independence, must suddenly work together to save the family business which is on the brink of bankruptcy. They owe eight hundred euros for an open grocery bill, several trays full of food fall on the floor, and the white tablecloths turn pink in the laundry. How about a party to celebrate a beauty pageant? That should earn some cash.
I was lucky to see Hotel the Big L at the 2017 Michel Children’s Film Festival in Hamburg. I sat in an audience of German kids who watched the film in Dutch with a reader speaking German over a loudspeaker. Afterwards there was active Q & A. The big attraction was Jorge Gonzales, a naturalized German, originally from Cuba, who appears on television shows and is a fashion model. As always, he was a sensation in the middle of the festival office area: tall in a white shirt and silver pants, sexy in a gay way. Gonzales plays a guest role as a beauty contest judge; he was happy to talk to the young participants in the audience along with director Ineke Hautman, who said that the story was based on a similar true story and the moral of the story is: be yourself. Much fun for the whole family. (Becky T.)