Grande Hotel (2011) Trailer
Once a magnificent monument to Portuguese colonial hubris, today a shattered shell, Mozambique’s Grande Hotel tells the story of the country. Built in 1955 as the largest, most opulent hotel in Africa, its 4.5-acre complex was once a luxurious enclave for the ruling elite; their nostalgia-drenched memories serve as narration over the lives of the 2,500 squatters who now call the hotel home. Displaced by civil war, floods and crushing poverty, the squatters have built a community with stores, hairstylists, a church and a mosque—but no water and only black market electricity for those who can afford it. The parquet floors and Louis XVI furniture have long since been burned for fuel. Trees have taken root in the walls. Now, to survive, the residents are breaking and selling the very concrete that shelters them. This gorgeously photographed elegy is a deeply humanistic reminder of the fragility of power.