Moviegoing would be an immeasurably richer thing if exhibitors were to allow the showing of an occasional brief short before the feature. I know…fat chance! But Venice Film Festival audiences saw a “beguiling” 13-minute short film titled Hotel Chavalier — directed by Wes Anderson, costarring Jason Schartzman and Natalie Portman — just before the showing of The Darjeeling Limited. Very cool, and thematically linked yet!

Jason Schwartzman, Natalie Portman in scene from a 13-minute Wes Anderson Darjeeling Limited short called Hotel Chevalier. [still provided by Dazza Buser of]

But Chevalier will not, according to trade reports, be shown in theatres along with Darjeeling when it opens on 9.29 — only at other festivals (i.e., the New York Film Festival), on the internet and eventually on the DVD. Bad call, guys. A pre-feature Chevalier hors d’oeuvre would lend a special dimension — an “echo” or rebound effect — to Darjeeling. Fox Searchlight should definitely reconsider. At least show it at the upscale venues — Landmark, Arclight, etc. — where such a novelty would be appreciated.