Almost 20 years ago, Kalt and cinematographer Eva Testor visited the Hotel 17 in New York. It was the location for Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mytery, but also provides permanent home for a few people who all ended up staying much longer than they expected. Four of those are the people they interviewed for this documentary.
Eva Testor – who was already the cinematographer for Meine Mutter war ein Metzger – told us after the film that they were actually shooting Shops Around the Corner (which took a while to finish and is coming out this year), and Living in a Box just happened in the margins of that shoot. They found four of the permanent residents, shot interviews with them (one only wanted audio recordings) and shot a bit of footage in the hotel and that’s what became the film.
Surprisingly for a film that came together quite spontaneously and is short to boot (only 30 minutes), it feels extremely well-rounded. I have seen films that don’t manage that sense of purpose, or maybe meaning is the better word, with much more extensive planning. They found extraordinary people in a fascinating place and managed to capture their respective qualities. A wonderful film.