My daughter has long been fascinated by the films of Wes Anderson. I watched The Darjeeling Limited with her when the DVD came out and really enjoyed it. We then watched The Grand Budapest Hotel and I loved it. I just watched Moonrise Kingdom and I am captivated.
I am going to probably upset the filmmakers out there but what I am about to say, but I do not think of film as art. Understand… this is just my opinion. I welcome a discussion as to how an why film is art, but I don’t really think when anyone can hold up a camera and capture what is I front of them does it qualify as art. I DO believe certain photographs can be classified as art, but film as been difficult for me. I’ve seen a few “art” films (Brazil, Wings of Desire) and I just didn’t get them. I WAS considerably younger than I am now, but I don’t think you should have to “qualify” to see a film.
Art should be accessible. Anyone should be able to enjoy art. If it needs a backstory or a particular mental state, it’s not art… it’s just pretentious. So “art” films escape me… until now. If you watch Wes Anderson, and I’ve only seen the 3 so far, you will see that he designs each shot with great care. He conveys beauty not only through the story, but the visuals. The story is told through a series of vignettes that the characters move through. It’s almost as if he is building dioramas on a large scale that he sets his characters into. Many of his shots could be printed out and hung as artwork.
The characters are relatable and interesting and often eccentric without being too over the top. He casts actors only with the thought that they’ll play the parts well and he does use many actors repeatedly; Edward Burns, Tilda Swinson, Jason Schwartzman. Bill Murray has been in every one of his films.
The films are usually classified as Comedy, Adventure, Drama… which makes sense. They’re not laugh out loud funny, but often rather dark in humor, or as I like to think of it, much like our lives; not necessarily funny to us, but others might chuckle.
The other thing I LOVE about his films is that they’re never gratuitous and always somewhat innocent. I’ve always though that use of nudity or violence is often unnecessary. We live in a cynical world… so I always embrace innocence.
I’m excited to go back and see his earlier work to understand how he has gotten to this point.