You Know It’s Wes Anderson IF…


[Are you listening to me?] [I look into your eyes,] [and I cant tell whether you’re] [getting anything I’m saying.] You know you’re watching a Wes Anderson film
if… There’s a rich microworld with a focus on
art direction. Wes Anderson’s films have become synonymous with unique and idiosyncratic production design. that makes us feel like we’ve entered inside a human dollhouse. The dense overabundance of detail gives the impression that this world is home to any number of peculiar adventures we’re not currently seeing on camera. These worlds he builds make Anderson’s films uniquely Anderson. And that testifies to the power of production design. In nine feature films, Anderson has worked with four different production designers, so it’s clear that the director himself exercises a great deal of control. According to critic Matt Zoller Seitz, Anderson also uses “material synecdoche” — and Seitz finds that as showcasing objects, locations and articles of clothing that define personalities, relationships or conflicts. For example, Gustave H’s perfume. [L’air de Panache.] Chas and his boys red jumpsuits. [Fire alarm! Let’s go!] Or Susie’s binoculars. [She left her binoculars] [on a hook in the chapel tent.] [Just leave them!] [We can’t. It’s her magic power!] Anderson’s production design or costumes actually develop his stories and characters. Before we go on, we want to talk a little
bit about this video’s sponsor, Skillshare. Skillshare, of course, is an awesome online learning community. They offer thousands of classes about everything. From bitcoin trading to stop motion animation. And right now, if you are one of the first
500 who click the link in our description below, You can get 2 months access to all their classes for only 99 cents total. Stay tuned at the end, to find out which Wes Anderson collaborator is teaching a class on Skillshare. Children act like adults and adults act like
children. [You’re a married man, Blume,] [and you’re supposed to be his friend.] Anderson has said Charles Schulz is a significant influence on him, and critics have noted that Charlie Brown-like articulate nature of Wes Anderson’s child characters, the way they talk and think like well-educated grown-ups. [I admit, supposedly,] [he’s emotionally disturbed,] [but he’s also a disadvantaged orphan.] Sam and Suzy’s sophisticated romance in Moonrise Kingdom is serious and sober in its total devotion to whimsy — their relationship feels like it come out of a Godard movie, but starring 12 year-olds. The adults in Anderson’s films never talk down to children — they treat them like equals or in some cases as intellectually or emotionally superior. [You’re probably a much more] [intelligent person than I am,] [in fact I guarantee it.] And, in this universe where children act like adults, [Excuse me, everyone.] [I’m gonna go meditate for half an hour.] it only stands to reason that adults would act like children. [People say that when someone says something
like that,] [it’s because they’re jealous.] [But it still hurts. It hurts bad.] [You dropped some cigarettes.] [Those aren’t mine.] The inverse of the couple in Moonrise Kingdom, adults Margot and Richie Tenenbaum feel like two teens wrestle with a first love. [I think we’re going to have to be secretly] [in love with each other] [and leave it at that Richie.] And the “manchild” is a recurring trope. Anderson’s manchild is unable to cope with his realities. He tries to resolve his issues through juvenile means, like in Darjeeling Limited when Peter travels to India instead of being with his pregnant wife because he’s not ready to be a father. [It’s a boy.] [It got born already?] or in Rushmore when Herman runs over Max’s bike to get even. But in Anderson’s stories, it’s not a bad thing to be a manchild. Take the lesson Royal Tenenbaum teaches his
family, how to recover that joy of being irresponsible like a kid. Overall, Anderson’s characters teach us that adults can learn to relax and have a little more fun like children, while children can be a lot more directed, serious and ingenious than we tend to think. We meet characters who become “unglued”. Anderson has said he thinks there is humor in a character becoming “unglued” and that falling apart can be funny. Matt Zoller Seitz observes the influence of Orson Welles and Anderson’s focus on impressive men who are deteriorating. [Hey, are you okay?] [Mmm, I’m a little bit lonely these days.] Seitz wrote: Anderson’s films… are filled with loquacious, combative, often hyper achieving individuals… [She was a playwright and won a Braverman
Grant] [of fifty-thousand dollars in the ninth grade.] …who seem fully formed and secure in their
identities… [It’s okay, I’ll tell you.] [I’m adopted. Did you know that?] …who reveal themselves to be deeply damaged by class anxiety, social expectations and family dysfunction. [She was known for her extreme secrecy.] [For example, none of the Tenenbaums knew] [she was a smoker, which she] [had been since the age of 12.] [You’re really complicated, aren’t you?] [I try not to be.] And even if characters aren’t always wealthy or upper-class, they tend to be culturally refined and intellectually superior. But they often suffer as a result of: Dysfunctional or fractured family relationships. The Tenenbaum children are the product of one parent who cares a lot [Etheline Tenenbaum kept the house] [and raised the children] [and their education was her highest priority.] and another who cares too little. [Well, did you at least think] [the characters were well-developed?] [What characters?] [This is a bunch of little kids,] [dressed up in animal costumes.] [Good night, everyone.] Max Fischer spends most of Rushmore embarrassed of his father’s profession as
a barber and attracted to Herman Blume’s success. [What’s your dad do, Max?] [He’s a neurosurgeon…] [at, uh, St. Joseph’s Hospital.] The Whitman brothers feel abandoned by their
mother, and take a cross-India train trip to rehash family issues while carrying around the literal and figurative baggage of their deceased father. Moonrise Kingdom’s Bishop family showcases an entire host of issues from lack of respect and disinterest [I hate you.] to infidelity. It’s within the dysfunction of family that Anderson derives entertainment, and he presents family as not only the source of conflict, but also the source of resolution– the Whitman brothers work through their issues through their relationship [Why don’t you hang onto mine?] once Royal Tenenbaum re-engages with his family, the Tenenbaums start to heal. [I’ve had a rough year, Dad.] [I know you have, Chassie.] and when Max accepts where he’s come from [I’d like for you to meet my father, Bert
Fischer.] [He’s a barber.] he truly flourishes. In the end Anderson’s films celebrate that
family, in whatever form, is a special bond, and we don’t need to force everything to fit into a conventional formula. It’s escapism with meat. [These guys are trying to escape!] At first glance it seems that Anderson’s work is escapist — and it is, in certain ways. It invites us to disappear into these carefully curated tableus and idiosyncratic characters. But within that escape, we’re surprised to encounter dark topics and tender humanity. [The story itself is something] [of a confection but when you cut into it] [there’s meat there.] [You see there are still faint glimmers] [of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse] [that was once known as humanity.] [Indeed that’s what we provide] [in our own modest, humble, insignificant…] [oh, (beep) it.] There’s a distinct pattern of speech. [To the north, a long rickety causeway] [over a noxious sludge marsh] [leading to a radioactive landfill] [polluted by toxic chemical garbage] [that’s our destination.] [-Great. -Got it.] [Get ready to jump.] [Sharp little guy.] [He’s one of the worst students we’ve got.] A dry, exacting deadpan delivery brings out Anderson’s particular brand of
humor. [Was he a good dog?] [Who’s to say.] The world is full of peculiarities, but the actors deliver their lines like they’re dead serious, [Is it dark?] [Of course it’s dark, it’s a suicide note.] completely unaware of any potential comedy in what they’re discussing. So the combination of the writing and acting
styles leads to a tone that’s equal parts sincerity [How long have you been a smoker?] [22 years.] [I think you should quit.] and absurdity. [You’re looking so well, darling.] [You really are.] [They’ve done a marvelous job.] [I don’t know what sort of cream they’ve] [put on you down at the morgue,] [but I want some.] There’s a recurring cast. For example, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason
Schwartzman, Wally Wolodarsky, Luke Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Willem Defoe, Jeff Goldblum, Waris Ahluwalia, Edward Norton, and the list goes on. There’s an art nouveau color palette. Colors tend to be a shade or two off of the most obvious rendering: not yellow, but “mustard”; instead of blue, “navy”; instead of green, “moss.” These colors contribute to the overall flatness of the image — it feels like a pastel storybook illustration or a monochromed theater set. Meanwhile each film has its own chromatic
language. Think the pacific blues with a pop of coral in the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou or the earthy browns and rich yellows of Fantastic
Mr. Fox. And of course, there’s a distinctive camera
language. Anderson’s visual language is influenced by Orson Welles and Francois Truffaut, and it’s executed through the cinematography of Robert Yeoman. One of Anderson’s most recognizable trademarks is the wide-angle lens, combined with symmetrical, center-framed shots. He uses a lot of rectilinear shots, meaning frames that contain straight lines. And the prominent lines in the frame highlight the symmetry of the shot. So the two techniques work together to organize a composition, create movement, and direct our eye in the
scene. They also create a sense of forced perspective, as if we are looking at something that has the illusion of depth rather than actually possessing it — so this adds to the feel of theatricality. Extensive tracking shots display Anderson’s crafted worlds like a intricate
diorama. The precise movement showcases all of the incredible detail of the microworld, and again it gives the impression that we are moving through a set on a stage aware of the playful artifice, as opposed to pretending any of this is reality. And we get Anderson’s very recognizable shots from above looking directly down onto his meticulously crafted and arranged props. There’s slow motion, to highlight symbolically loaded moments, like in the bookend scenes of The Darjeeling Limited. In the beginning, we see a businessman running for the train, until he is overtaken by Peter. The slo mo makes us feel the tension of whether or not Peter will make it, we sense how important it is that he takes this trip. Then at the end, the Whitman brothers chase after their train home, shedding the literal and metaphorical baggage they inherited from their father. The slow motion celebrates the triumph of the brothers’ revelations and renewed closeness, they’re now ready to face their home lives. So it’s also really urgent that they catch
this train. There’s a mid to late 1960s and early 1970s
soundtrack. We hear music from popular artists of the
60s and 70s, but they’re deep cuts. Anderson’s films had made mainstream hit songs like These Days by Nico, Strangers by The Kinks, and Ooh La La by the Faces. Rolling Stone songs underscore a number of important moments in Anderson’s
films, like when Richie and Margot express their feelings for each other and when Max Fischer feels his life has fallen
apart. The trailer for Isle of Dogs features “I Won’t Hurt You,” by West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, debuted in 1966. Frequently a Wes Anderson film will feature a performance of some kind. This production within a production has the same psychological effect as a dream within a dream — it’s the film’s way of conveying information to the audience about the movie we’re watching, whether that’s foreshadowing, characterization or bringing more attention to a specific detail. Take Margot Tenenbaum’s first play. It features a zebra who has been shot by a bear. So young Margot’s writing turns light childlike imagery into dark, traumatic stories, which expresses how she feels about her childhood. The performance in Moonrise Kingdom, foreshadows the actual flood that will ravage the island of New Penzance. Suzy is dressed as a raven, another symbol of foreboding. Anderson’s creations are creators themselves. Presumably like the director, his characters are obsessively detail-oriented and trust in their own “weird” visions. Max Fischer manages his plays in Rushmore down to every last elaborate detail, and both Anderson and his creation/creators believe that all the details matter. [What happened to the cannoli line?] [You’re supposed to say,] [‘forget about it Sanchez the old man
likes his cannolis.] [Look I made a mistake, alright.] [It didn’t make any difference, anyway.] [Hey. I’m letting it go,] [but don’t say it doesn’t matter.] [Every line matters!] It’s also co-written by Wes Anderson. Wes Anderson has co-written every film he’s
directed. This speaks to Anderson identity as an auteur, he has great control over every aspect of
his filmmaking. [The text is his. He writes all of that.] But it’s striking that he also always collaborates with a writing partner. Either Owen Wilson, Noah Baumbach or Roman
Coppola. So maybe this spirit of collaboration is part of what produces the sense of fun and joyful playfulness in many of his
films. And before we finish, a few more Anderson trademarks for the road: The Futura font, binoculars, sudden bursts of abrupt violence, and a chapter-like structure. An Anderson film shows us cinema’s power to whisk us off to another world, we discover a place more charming and creative and perfectly curated than anything we’ve known. But in the midst of that fantasy, we also discover something earnest, sad, even tragic– and by the end we might learn to find comfort in our relationships, in our own individuality, and the act of choosing to be elegant and civilized — why not be the best version of ourselves. [How was that?] [That was a good toast.] This is graphic designer Jessica Hische. Jessica designs the typeface for Moonrise
Kingdom, she also happens to be a teacher on Skillshare, where she teaches in depth classes on lettering and local type design. Look at that beautiful logotype, it’s totally done– absolutely not, there’s lots of work to do. Jessica is the perfect example of why we love Skillshare service. The courses are taught by amazing accomplished working professionals in design, photography, social media, business, entrepreneurship and more. In fact, we use Skillshare to learn more about graphic design and animation to keep improving our videos. They offer 80,000 classes about any skill you might want to learn. All for less than $10 a month. Right now, you can get 2 months access to all of their classes for just 99 cents
total. But that’s only if you’re one of the first
500 people who click the link in our description below. It’s a great deal, so hurry up and don’t miss
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