Roger Ebert sort of reviewed "Hotel Chevalier" here
Q. Did the version of "The Darjeeling Limited" you reviewed have the short subject "Hotel Chevalier" prologue attached to it? I understand that the "Hotel Chevalier" section was attached to the film on the festival circuit, removed for the limited release, and restored to the print for the wider theatrical release. I was wondering if you'd seen it and what you thought about it.
Chris Upchurch, Salt Lake City
A. I saw the film at the Toronto Film Festival, where it was preceded by the 13-minute short "Hotel Chevalier," featuring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman in a Paris hotel. What happens between them goes some way toward explaining his character's malaise during the Indian journey he takes with his brothers.
The director, Wes Anderson, does an interesting thing here: Instead of trying to work the material into the film, where there is no place for it, or dismissing it as a "deleted scene," he makes a brilliant short film that helps set up some of the feelings that will be expressed later. He also shows that a gifted director can make a film interesting when ostensibly nothing is happening except a character moving around in a hotel room. If you get a chance, check out the opening of Jean-Pierre Melville's "Le Samourai" (included in my Great Movies Collection) to watch how Melville achieves a similar fascination with Alain Delon.
By the way, "Hotel Chevalier" has been added to all theatrical screenings of "Darjeeling" as of now, and is available as a free download from iTunes.