I Am a Hotel

I Am a Hotel is a 1983 Canadian made for TV short musical film, written by Leonard Cohen and Mark Shekter and directed by Allan F. Nicholls.

I Am a Hotel
Directed byAllan F. Nicholls
Produced byBarrie Wexler
Moses Znaimer
Written byLeonard Cohen
Mark Shekter
StarringLeonard Cohen
Celia Franca
Alberta Watson
Toller Cranston
Narrated byLeonard Cohen
Music byLeonard Cohen
Distributed byCanadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
Morningstar Entertainment
Release date
Running time
28 minutes

The storyline is based on imaginary events in the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, and the guests' (usually romantic) interactions with each other.[1]


Leonard Cohen had the idea for the film based upon his personal experiences and his song "The Guests". It was originally intended for the Canadian pay TV network C-Channel, but when the network collapsed, the production was completed by Citytv with financial assistance from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Canadian Film Development Corporation.[2][3]


Cohen features frequently, as an amused bystander ('the Resident'). Extensive dance routines in scenes 2 and 3 were choreographed by Ann(e) Ditchburn, who also dances as the Gypsy wife in scene 3. There are five scenes, each based on a Cohen song.

  1. "The Guests" in which the characters enter via the lobby and are taken to their rooms; The bellboy and chambermaid meet in the corridor; and the manager and his wife apparently have angry words in the lobby after which she strides off.
  2. "Memories" (in which the bellboy pursues the chambermaid around the laundry and ballroom)
  3. "The Gypsy Wife" (in which the manager's wife, in fetching attire, dances on the boardroom table)
  4. "Chelsea Hotel #2" (in which the two lovers try, and fail, to make love, and the admiral and diva at last face each other across the hallway)
  5. "Suzanne" (in which scenes of Suzanne with Cohen are interspersed with shots of the two couples reunited and dancing together, and the hotel manager distraught and then drinking at the bar)

A short epilogue repeats the opening material from 'The Guests'. The final credits give the makers as 'Blue Memorial Video Ltd' and dedicate the piece to David Blue (1941-1982).



The film was released on video in 1996.


The film won a Golden Rose international television award at the 1984 Montreux TV festival in Montreux, Switzerland.[4]


  1. ^ Ghomeshi, Jian. "Leonard Cohen in Three Acts". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  2. ^ Nadel, Ira Bruce (2007). Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen (illustrated ed.). University of Texas Press. pp. 235–237. ISBN 9780292717329.
  3. ^ Miller, Mary Jane (1996). Rewind and search: conversations with the makers and decision-makers of CBC television drama. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 408. ISBN 9780773513655.
  4. ^ "Romantic Despair' Still Lives In Leonard Cohen". Toledo Blade. June 2, 1985. p. 39. Retrieved 2009-07-07.

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