It's been quite a cultural weekend around these parts. On Friday night I saw Emil and the Detectives at the National Theatre and last night I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel in the lush surrounds of the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, the only cinema I tend to go to these days, because not only are the leather armchairs and footstools oh-so comfy, you can drink a glass of wine while you watch the film. It's all perfectly civilised.
The film turned out to be a cartoonish romp (not dissimilar in style, in fact, to Emil and the Detectives) with a dark Eastern European twist. I loved it.
Who knew Ralph Fiennes, who plays the hotel's renowned concierge, M. Gustave, could be so funny? But the real star of the show is first-time actor, Tony Revolori, who stars as the Lobby Boy, who helps Gustave go on the run after he is accused of murder.
Annabel has written a fab review of it on her blog, Annabel's House of Books, which I'd urge you to read, because she sums it up better than I could.
The film isn't based on a book, but the director, Wes Anderson, was inspired by the writings of Austrian novelist and playwright Stefan Zweig, whose books were popular in the 1920s and 30s. His fame dwindled and he died in a double suicide pact with his wife in 1942. He's one of those authors that bloggers have championed for years, so here's hoping The Grand Budapest Hotel may bring his work to the attention of a wider audience.
If you want a taster of Zweig's work there's a new book out called The Society of the Crossed Keys, which Wes Anderson has put together featuring selected extracts. I haven't read it myself, but only because why read extracts when you can read the full-length novels already sitting on your shelves?
Anyone else seen the film, or read any of Zweig's novels?