Synopsis by Mark Deming
At the dawn of the 20th century, the Century Plaza was the most luxurious hotel in Portland, OR, and it provided lodging for thousands of distinguished visitors to the city, as well as locals looking for a brief taste of the good life. However, a hundred years later, the Century Plaza has fallen into disrepair (as has the neighborhood around it), and it's now home to drug addicts, prostitutes, the indigent, and homeless people with enough cash to put a roof over their head for a day or two. Filmmaker Eric Lahey moved into the Century Plaza for six months to get to know the folks who live there, and The Century Plaza tells their stories to the world. Among those profiled in the film are Greg, a devout Mormon who has been unable to shake his addiction to crack; a jobless man named Manuel who is recovering from surgery on his ears while his wife tries to kick drugs and his son tries to stay out of his parents' way; Bob, a gentle and philosophical man who has served time for molesting children; Manesh, an Indian immigrant who dreams of a future he can't have until he raises some money; and Arthur, an elderly gentleman who offers up a lifetime of musing on both spiritual and temporal matters. The Century Plaza was screened in competition at the 2005 Los Angeles Film Festival.