Wes Anderson: Quirky Hipster

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Image Source: IMDb

How much do I love Wes Anderson, let’s put it this way; I am getting a tattoo this summer on my wrist that reads: Directed by Wes Anderson. 

Wes Anderson is responsible for masterpieces, such as Bottle Rocket (1996), Rushmore (1998), The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). With my top three personal favorites being,

  1. The Royal Tenenabaums- love the dialogue (humor and the use swear words) and characters
  2. Moonrise Kingdom– love the aesthetics and the romance
  3. Grand Budapest Hotel– absolutely love Monsieur Gustave H!

Wes Anderson is the first director that made me passionate about cinema. The ending of Moonrise Kingdom makes me cry every time I see his dedication to his girlfriend Juman Malouf. Like the various directors that I mention throughout this blog, Wes Anderson has unique elements to his films that I can immediately notice.

Anderson tends to use the same line of actors, a warm color palette, cinematic references to the French New wave and older Hollywood films, the use of antique wardrobe and set, and my favorite quality of them all; quirky dialogue and eccentric characters. However, I will only mention a few elements that I seen as a pattern in all his films.

Camera shots:

  • High shots
  • Wide (landscape) angle shots
  • Tracking shots
  • Zooms

Cinematic Influences and References:

Anderson has taken cinematic influences from many different places, but most prominently the cinema of the French New Wave, films directed by Francois Truffaut, or by Indian-British filmmaker, Waris Hussein and his 1971 film Melody, as that one especially has a lot of influence on his early works. But it is not limited to European cinema, Anderson also makes references to American films, such as The Graduate (1967), The French Connection (1971), Citizen Kane (1941), and even the animated film series Peanuts. Anderson does not limited to one style of cinema. It is the combination of many styles that form his own.

Themes:

Father and Son relationships and Romance.

Protagonist: 

With few exceptions, they are mainly male charismatic characters. It’s their charisma and confidence that allows them to overcome their faults, which in turn attracts a group of people to follow and support their antics. Something I notice is Anderson struggle to write interesting roles for female characters. With few exception, the female characters are only their to save the men from themselves, or as a prize or motivation for the male characters.

Composure of Shots:

Unlike other film directors, Anderson’s composes his shots flat and symmetrical whenever possible. He gives the impression that his films are like a storybook and shots this way makes the characters feel more drawn and captured, while also allowing shot to shot scene to be easily followed. Most directors want their audience to forget that they are watching a movie, but that is not the case with Wes Anderson. This method effectively present serious scenarios with laughs.

Actors that are constantly used in Wes Anderson films: 

  • Bill Murray
  • Jason Schwartzman
  • Edward Norton
  • Tilda Swinton
  • William Dafoe
  • The Owen Brothers

Wes Anderson is one of the few directors today, that still make great, low-budget films. He knows exactly the film he wants to make and knows the proper method of executing it. He ultimately makes hilarious, aesthetically pleasing films.

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