HOTEL BEAU SEJOUR
Directed by Nathalie Basteyns and Kaat Beels
Created and Series Writing by Nathalie Basteyns, Kaat Beels, Sanne Nuyens, and Bert Van Dael
Series Writing by Benjamin Sprengers
Series Music by Jeroen Swinnen
Series Cinematography by Anton Mertens
Series Film Editing by Bert Jacobs
Series Casting by Anke Blondé
Filmed on location at the actual Hotel Beau Séjour, in Dilsen-Stokkem in the province of Limburg.
Some folks simply have a problem with subtitles. Some won’t watch anything in black & white. That leaves out decades of some of the finest films ever produced, including two of my top five favourites. Plus, the guilty pleasure of some of the most laughably bad ones which, honestly, I will take over a Fellini or Bergman every time. If you refuse to watch anything in a foreign language, you are going to miss one of the greatest series ever to come out of Belgium.
Be ready. Because Hotel Beau Sejour does not give viewers time to get settle in and get comfortable; the first scene will hit like a sucker punch to the gut and leave everyone breathless, not really sure what happened. That’s only fair. One of their one has been murdered in a grisly way and no one really knows everything that happened over the last day and night, only pieces here and there. Even those who do possess vital scraps of information may not be sharing everything.
One thing appears to be certain: each character is lying about something. The two federal detectives Marion Schneider and Dora Plettinckx with their very different personalities and approaches (much like Goren and Eames on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Marion is the loose cannon here) find untruths glinting through the leaves every time they leave the police station. Maybe if someone would speak up things would get better, not worse. But, that is just not how people are, is it? Despite all of the wariness, Kato and Charlie have an undeniable attraction. Maybe, just maybe, they are telling each other the truth.
Just as weddings and funerals bring out the worse in people–littering the occasion with childish brawls–murders seemingly bring the creepy to the surface in every person who has more than just a touch of it. There is more *ick* than one would expect in a town of this size.
And for small towns, there is more concentration on dirt bike competition than there normally would be for tables at Starbucks or Costas. No futbol, Harry Potter, dick pics, makeover videos or blogs (which would be what Innes should be involved in) — this is a town obsessed with skidding around in mud. Charlie was interested in it for awhile. Even Kato’s sister Sofia wants to take lessons. The other sport they are mental for is shooting. Shooting. They don’t call it the shooting range, skeet, hunt, sniper-school-just-in-case-we-need-it, the posh clubhouse Kato’s father Luc runs is for the shooting club. Helmets and shell casings. That’s it. Unless…one is working frantically to get the hotel reopened for business. Then, that is all that they talk about. Police chief Vinken spends all of his off-time there. Oddly, if the woman who owns it does anything besides bitch at other people to do things it doesn’t show.
Put a dirt track through the hotel where guests can shoot at the riders and the thing will open itself.
The crimes are not solving themselves. The clues are leading into more twisted revelations by the minute, but Marion and Dora are pushing ahead. Marion ignores warnings from every side, intent on tracking down the person or persons responsible for the murder that changed the village forever. No one is getting away with anything while there is still blood pumping through her body, and she knows Dora is at her side whether they are breaking all of the rules or not. (They are.)
The series starts with an almost unbearable tension and grief that only build with each episode as the revelation of the killer comes closer. Another form of grief begins to seep in as her friends begin to wonder what will happen to Kato she uncovers the truth about her murderer.