The Visitor

US, 1992
10 min, 16mm, B&W

Directed, Produced, Written, Edited Laura Waddington
Camera Victoria Hunter
Actors Delfina Marcello, Eve Crosby
Photos Mathilde Kohl

Premiere

‘Rooster Rushes’ Pyramid Club, New York, 1992

Synopsis

Once in a hotel, a chambermaid had gone through my things and recorded her voice onto my walkman. I wrote this story for her. It was my first film.

Looking back on the making of “The Visitor”

We shot The Visitor (1992) in a weekend in a Manhattan hotel room, carrying the camera and equipment into the hotel, hidden in suitcases. The actress, Delfina Marcello, who I had picked to play the chambermaid for her beautiful face and a mystery about her, turned out to have come from Venice. At the end of the shoot, she told me that we had already met. Years before, while studying in London, she had worked as a coat check girl in a restaurant and had always remembered a shy school girl, who had handed her a coin and smiled. I didn’t recall our encounter but it was, indeed, the restaurant, where as a teenager, I used to meet my father. That was my first introduction to the strange way in which filmmaking weaves in and out of life. Whether one makes a fiction or a documentary, reality seems to exist, suspended between the two.

related passage in “Scattered Truth”

Press Quotes

“She films her first work The Visitor (1992) in a New York hotel room. It is the story of a chambermaid who photographs the traces of an occupant of a room she cleans each day. Bit by bit this place becomes a room for images, a space in which the objects find their echo through the contact of this chambermaid, who knows how to welcome them, to give them resonance.”
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Bouchra Khalili, THE 51st OBERHAUSEN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL CATALOGUE

“The filmmaker has tried since her early work to make confined social problems graspable on a personal level, not from the perspective of those involved but through a seemingly detached observer who rather than analysing the situation integrates it into her own biography… Already in her first short film The Visitor, filmed at 22, a man is observed from a distance, examined and judged on the basis of the objects he leaves in is his hotel room, which a chambermaid goes through and photographs.”
Olivier Rahayel FILM-DIENST, Germany

“Waddington’s works carry their heart on their sleeve, as they want, need to be understood. Starting with her ‘maiden film’ The Visitor…the work ‘describes’ a movement out into the open. From the enclosed spaces of work and home in The Visitor, breeding desire, which is also the need to get away”
Olaf Möller, The Days and Years of My Travels


Screenings

‘Rooster Rushes’ Pyramid Club, New York, 1992
Off Broadway Cinema, Cologne, Germany, 1997
Seminar Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, Estonia, 2001
ELIA lectures, Hochschule fur Gestaltung und Kunst, Luzern, Switzerland, 2004
“Crossing Frontiers – Laura Waddington” The 51st Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, 2005


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