Room Service

1980, 7:37 min, color, sound

Using confrontational humor and performance, Labat replicates the frustration and anxiety of cultural disorientation in the witty yet pointed Room Service. Playing the role of a newly arrived Latino immigrant, he is seen in a motel room, rehearsing his only English phrases in preparation for a call to room service. Interrupting this narrative, he also appears in the guise of a stand-up comic who tells a joke about an immigrant bewildered by ordering food in English. Labat's satirical role-playing and manipulation of language conveys a broader cultural critique. Through his fragmented, staccato narratives, which often throw the viewer off-balance, he parallels the complex and often terrifying process of displacement and transformation that accompanies acculturation.