The Arts

Love At The Twilight Motel

Love At The Twilight Motel featured image

Love at the Twilight Motel
Alison Rose, director and script of this documentary feature w/Gigi, Cadillac, B, Sara and others

In Miami, Florida, in the heart of Little Havana, there’s a street that has 20 hourly motels. The business transacted there is often termed the world’s oldest profession–and possibly for that reason, there is a surprising degree of decorum and ritual on 8th Street. Cars drive into parking lots and their drivers are encouraged to go straight to private rooms away from the prying eyes of the public. The workers at the motels are Cuban-Americans and quite discreet. So are the working women who ply their trade there.

Toronto filmmaker Alison Rose found 8th Street on a visit to Miami and became fascinated by the hidden stories being played out in the motels. The quietly sophisticated, philosophical young director charmed one of the motel owners into letting her film a verité doc on his premises. The result, Love at the Twilight Motel premiered successfully at last year’s Hot Docs, toured internationally and recently garnered the best documentary award at Toronto’s Female Eye Festival. Now, it’s having a limited theatrical run at the Royal Cinema.

Rose’s film eschews violence and action. It’s about character and motivation and storytelling. She finds a remarkable group of sex trade workers who are willing to tell stories for her camera. There’s Sara and Richard and Cadillac but most of all there’s Gigi, whose beauty has faded but who has amazing stories to tell.

Love at the Twilight Motel is not a tabloid doc. Alison Rose looks with a clear eye at the US—its class and race and gender issues as they’re reflected through prostitution. She places poor Hispanics and Africans on the screen—and, of course, whites—and calmly lets them justify their lives, jobs and choices. Rose has created a strong film, filled with characters and scenes, which will resonate with audiences in North America and abroad.

Hot Docs is nearly a month away. I urge you to support this film, which will get you into the right mood for Hot Docs 2010.

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