Filmmaker of the week: Wes Anderson
November 5, 2021
As the king of symmetry Wes Anderson released his new film "The French Dispatch" (2021) a few months ago, we've decided finally to get you acquainted with such talented director. Let's start!
Anderson was born on May 1, 1969, in Houston, Texas. He graduated from St. John's School in Houston in 1987. Though his main dream was to become a writer, as a child. Wes used to make short silent films on his dad's Super 8 camera. After school he was enrolled in University of Texas at Austin to learn philosophy and worked part-time as a projectionist while studying. Moreover, during this time he met his roommate and future collaborator Owen Wilson.

Anderson made his first film "Bottle Rocket" (1996) at the age of 27. It was based on a short film with the same name about a group of young Texans aspiring to achieve major heists, that he created with Luke and Owen Wilson. The film was well praised by critics, but performed poorly at the box office.

Anderson started to form own unique style in his second film "Rushmore" (1998), which was filmed on location of the Wes school. The scenario for this film was started by Anderson and Wilson years before "Bottle Rocket". Wes fall in love with an older woman and Owen was dismissed from school.
In addition, "Rushmore" is the first collaboration between Anderson and Murray. Bill has since appeared in every Wes's film to date. The film was a critical and financial success. Anderson won the Best Director award and Murray won Best Supporting Male at the 1999 Independent Spirit Awards and Murray won Best Supporting Male. Since its release, Rushmore has gained cult status.

Wes next movie was "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001), the precondition for which became the divorce of his parents that was a real emotional blow for 8-years old Anderson. The film tells about a successful and artistic New York City family and its ostracized patriarch and starred Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow. "The Royal Tenenbaums" represented Anderson's greatest financial success until Moonrise Kingdom in 2012, earning more than $50 million in domestic box-office receipts.
Wes created several positive criticized films after such triumph as "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004) and "The Darjeeling Limited" (2007) which almost always starred Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman.

Anderson released his first stop-motion-animated film "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2009) a few years later. It has the usual cast as many of Anderson's films including Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman. The film was highly praised among critics and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Wes made one more animated movie in 2018 called "Isle of Dogs" (2018), which also was well-praised.
Anderson created two more amazing films over the past 10 years, which had an absolute success. They were "Moonrise Kingdom" (2012) and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014). The first one debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or. The film was emblematic of Anderson's style and earned Anderson another Academy Award nomination for his screenplay. Wes was inspired by "400 Blows" by François Truffaut while making it. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014) represented one of Anderson's greatest critical and commercial successes, grossing nearly $175 million worldwide and earning dozens of award nominations, including nine Oscar nominations.
So, what is unique about Wes Anderson and his style?

Although he makes films with the same actors, they always become different characters with their unusual story, which Anderson reveals just perfect. His movies are little worlds full of nuances and details, which seemed to be negligible, but exactly did they become storytellers and make these worlds unique and picturesque.

Wes chooses 4-5 main colors for each of his films and is vigilant about following his own rules. Also, Anderson pays a lot of attention to the interior. All of his films are like little dollhouses full of unusual furniture and décor. And it is not for nothing. These details help the director to meet us better with the characters and the whole story on the screen. They show when everything is calm or, conversely, create suspense and oppressive atmosphere.

As he loves the interior as a way of expressing his ideas, Anderson is also obsessed with clothes in his films. All characters have their colors and almost often wear the same clothes throughout the whole movie. It helps the audience to get used to them.
Although, Wes works with such talented and recognizable costume designers as Karen Patch and Milena Canonero, Anderson always checks every little detail by himself. He really loves uniform, headgear, vintage clothes, glasses and mustache. That's why we see a lot of characters wearing them.

And, of course, we didn't mention the main peculiarities of Wes films which are symmetry and centring. Anderson is crazy about it. In his films we always see geometry, angles, smooth lines. He is a real perfectionist.

Thus, Wes Anderson created his own unique style and became one of the most recognizable directors of modernity. We can name hardly any filmmaker being as authentic in visual way as Anderson.

That's why we really recommend you to watch films from our list:

Academy Rushmore (1998)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Isle of Dogs (2018)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
The French Dispatch (2021)
Author: Arina Bokach