Madame D departs the Grand Budapest on the same day that a young lobby boy called Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) first comes to the concierge’s attention.
Gustave must school this pup in the ins and outs of the hotel, not least explaining his own peculiar role in the sex lives of its weathered residents.
Although one thing is telling: when he first sits, it’s all the way down at the other end of a long sofa and it’s only with coaxing (‘Closer.
Little bit closer still’) that I persuade him to bump up.
“When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak,” he tells his new protégé, “but as you get older, you have to move on to the cheaper cuts.” It’s rare, amid the impeccably tailored, OCD detail of an Anderson production, for sex, nudity or expletives to play much of a part at all - which might be why the brief shot of Gustave being orally serviced by a guest is so startlingly funny.
Another unexpected element is Ralph Fiennes - such an unlikely star in an Anderson film, as well as an underrated comic actor in general, that it redoubles the joy of what he’s doing.
Ralph, on the other hand, was most recently linked to his aristocrat girlfriend, but it’s not clear whether the duo are still dating.
Although it’s been rumored that Fiennes is gay or bisexual for some time, we’ve never really had cause to think anything about it.
However, we recently received a tip from a very reliable source who claims that Ralph was having an affair with recently outed Andy Cohen, who has become the first talk show host to come out as openly gay.
There are three prologues, each nested within the last as storytelling conceits to bring us back, in stages, to 1932, and Chapter 1.
Here we’re introduced to the story’s prime mover – a famous concierge called Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), who is the meticulous heart and soul of his establishment, a monumental pink palace perched high up somewhere in a misty Mitteleuropean mountain range.