Totally off the wall and in the pages of the magazine
Streaming Columnist NICK OVERALL reveals that director Wes Anderson is not limited to his film “The French Dispatch”, but everything is off.
WES Anderson’s latest film “The French Dispatch” looks a lot like the magazine it’s about.
It’s the one you oddly picked up in a waiting room somewhere, its pastel cover intriguing enough to make you flick through the pages with passing interest.
The film contains three stories based on three articles by three different journalists who write for “The French Dispatch” – a publication based in the fictional French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé.
One story tells of a mentally disturbed, yet deeply artistic prisoner who achieves fame after painting the nude portrait of a prison officer with whom he develops a relationship.
Another follows an undergraduate revolutionary leading a revolt against a classmate’s military conscription.
The third regales a daring heist to rescue a police commissioner’s son from a gang of criminals led by a failed musician notoriously labeled The Chauffeur.
Is this all off enough? The unorthodox storytelling has Wes Anderson’s unique style written all over it.
The viewer happened to stumble upon this fictional magazine in its last edition, published after the death of its longtime editor Arthur Howitzer Jr, played by Bill Murray.
By the time each story (only about 30 minutes per play) begins, it’s already wrapped and the page is flipped to new, original characters played by an incredibly large cast.
Benicio del Toro, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Jeffrey Wright… it continues.
The discursive structure makes it something of a Wes Anderson variety box or perhaps a best-of album, the director’s iconic and bizarre idiosyncrasies scattered throughout the film, from the stunning stop-motion animation to the cinematography. perfectly symmetrical.
He made a rapid transition from cinema to streaming, snatched away by Disney Plus which is eager to capitalize on the lively cult following of Anderson’s followers.
It’s not just his latest film available on Disney Plus, the platform showcases a collection of the director’s works, including one of his most beloved, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
The comedy-drama stars Ralph Fiennes as a notorious concierge at a grand hotel accused of murder and with a lobby boy sidekick must go in search of a Renaissance painting.
Not curious enough a premise? There’s also “Isle of Dogs,” an animated adventure about an island of talking dogs off the coast of Japan who are quarantined due to the canine flu epidemic.
While these films represent the pinnacle of the director’s career, fans can also look back to Anderson’s early rise to fame with his 1998 coming-of-age film “Rushmore.”
In it, an eccentric 15-year-old falls in love with a much older teacher and is devastated when he discovers that his friend and mentor, a middle-aged industrialist, is having an affair with her, sparking a vendetta within the exuberant teenager. .
Co-written by Anderson and his friend Owen Wilson, the duo wanted to capture a “strong sense of reality” in the story – an atmosphere that has permeated the director’s works ever since and that drew inspiration from children’s books by Roald Dahl.
No surprise then that he also directed an adaptation of one of Dahl’s most beloved books “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, which is on Netflix. The streaming platform has another of Dahl’s short story collections in the pipeline that the director will also lead the way.
For non-Anderson fans, they may very well find all of that, and “The French Dispatch” a whole lot of nonsense. For the author’s fans, this is nonsense that they never get tired of.
In fact, the fanbase has grown so lively that it can be spotted a mile away.
Seeing “The French Dispatch” in theaters, the guy selling us tickets almost immediately said to a friend of mine, “You look like a Wes Anderson fan.” She didn’t know if it was a compliment or an insult, but she still wore it as a badge of honor.
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Ian Meikle, editor