This is the first and only filmed biography about Cesar Ritz, inventor of modern hotel business.
It is the story of a peasant boy in a remote mountain area and thus starts there, in the place he grew up in, Niederwald. The film follows Ritz’ way to Paris, Cannes, Rome and London. Finally, the film ends in the clinic where Ritz spent his last days, back in Switzerland. The film features interviews with family, friends and experts: the directors of the Ritz in Paris and Rome, a follower of the chef Escoffier, and Jacques Tardi, an artist specializing in the “Commune de Paris” and thus knowing the Paris of the Ritz period particularly well.
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Cesar Ritz’ story is one of personal drama: a man who has it all and finally collapses. He loses everything in the end, his family, the hotels, and his mind. Only his brilliant opus survives.
Ritz’ genius consisted in captivating every novelty in record time and in transforming it into his world of hotel business almost instinctively. The technical progress was the main inspiration of the ingenious inventor. Cesar Ritz was every bit like the fuming and effervescing locomotives of his time that pulled him across Europe, from capital to capital, to the hotels of the Ritz Company, resembling themselves huge machines.
The big challenge (and at the same time the charm) of the film stems from the fact that our protagonist belongs to an epoch long bygone. We are thus trying to revive this time with various visual aids. The atmosphere that Ritz created with his concept of the hotel business was based on illusion: in the hotel, everything is deamlike, a world apart: luxury, small and greater extravagancies, everything served to create a fairy tale. The guest is to pass from reality into hi own, sumptuous dream.
The entry hall, the saloons and the suites of the Ritz hotels transmit a special, almost unreal ambiance. It revives the era od Cesar Ritz: the Paris Ritz as well as in the St. Regis Grand in Rome (another of his hotels) have lately been restored like historical monuments. This spirit and this accuracy help to reawaken the taste, the genius and the philosophy of Cesar Ritz. In this film, Cesar Ritz and his chef Auguste Escoffier make their presence felt again today.
© Licensed by First Hand Films