A Spotlight on Wes Anderson
The film industry has been blessed with the inclusion of writer, director, and producer Wes Anderson. Throughout the years, he has contributed his imaginative and unique directing techniques through movies such as The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tenenbaums.
Born in Houston in 1969, Anderson grew up with two brothers with whom he experienced his parents’ early divorce. Anderson says that this experience was the most crucial point in his childhood for both him and his brothers. Throughout his early years, Anderson began writing plays and filming homemade movies. He began his high school career at Westchester High School and finished out his years at St. John’s prep school, which is where he gained inspiration for many of his characters and his 1998 film, Rushmore.
While studying philosophy the University of Texas in Austin, Anderson met the friend that would spark his beginnings as a director: Owen Wilson. Together they made short films that aired on local cable stations such as Bottle Rocket; made in 1994, Bottle Rocket appeared as a short film at the Sundance Film Festival and was received so well that funding was provided to create the full-length movie released in 1996. Though it was not immensely popular, it certainly created a cult-audience and a large fan base.
From that point, Anderson has been writing, directing, and releasing films every two or three years that receive more and more appraisal and continuously increase Anderson’s fan base.
So, what makes Wes Anderson films so appealing? He is certainly not short on trademarks that make his handiwork easily recognizable in each of his films; some of his trademarks include his shots with wide-angle anamorphic lenses, his frequent cast and score composer, unique ways of bringing out a large cast of popular actors, centered shots, stories that center around a broken family or group and title card credits. These are just a few of Anderson’s immense and mostly exclusive trademarks.
With so many creative and quirky factors intentionally put into his films, it would not be hard to assume that it is these factors that cause fans to admire the films as they do. Many of these details have been accused of taking away from characters and substance. However, Anderson is aware of his critics’ thoughts on his over-attention to detail and style instead of the substance of his films. When asked about this, he responded by explaining that while some may see these details as taking away from the characters, he is using these details to bring the characters forward.
Anderson wants films to be personal and interesting to an audience; he has few worries when it comes to critic and academy opinions. Instead, we can easily recognize that Anderson is creating art that is personal to both the audience and to himself.
Wes Anderson’s latest and highest grossing film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, hit theatres on March 7th in 2014. While featuring many Anderson trademarks and quirks, the story centers on a popular concierge who is accused of murder. The story is told throughout the film by the bell boy Zero as he explains how he came to own the Grand Budapest Hotel. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe and Jude Law, The Grand Budapest Hotel displays Wes Anderson’s true talent and gifts for writing and directing.