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Posts tagged "Wes Anderson"

Roughing Up an Isle of Dogs

The debut of the unbelievably delightful first trailer for The Isle of Dogs (which arrives in theaters on yours truly’s birthday – coincidence?) is as good an occasion as any for posting a few paragraphs from the Wes Anderson essay that opens Mockingbird at the Movies.

“The very mention of a religious dimension to Wes Anderson’s films may sound surprising, even bizarre. It is certainly not what he is known for. Critics praise his visual imagination, his attention to detail, his pet themes and oft-imitated (but never replicated) whimsy. They do not, as a group, gravitate toward spiritual language when discussing his movies. If anything, Wes has been criticized for the emotional distance of his dollhouse-like visions. The net effect of the fanciful scenery and mannered dialogue is to keep the viewer from fully entering into the picture, heart-wise, to say nothing of the spirit. Everything is so gloriously precise; it seems there is no room in a Wes Anderson film for any deity other than Wes Anderson.

While such a view may not be entirely unfounded, it does not account for the stories themselves, in particular the trilogy of The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. What emerges is something more akin to the fake Italian talk show interview with Wes that’s included on the Criterion edition of The Life Aquatic. Following a series of increasingly awkward exchanges, the befuddled host asks the director point- blank if he believes in God. Wes answers, “Eh, I think so. Yeah. I mean, roughly.”

By “roughly” he no doubt meant “approximately,” yet given the films in question he might as well have been using it in the physical sense. In Anderson’s films, God intervenes upon hapless human beings with force, often in the guise of something cataclysmic and unpleasant–as a divine interruption as opposed to something engineered by one of the protagonists. However precious his sensibility may be in other ways–that is, the opposite of gothic–Wes demonstrates time and again an implicit grasp of what novelist Flannery O’Connor once described in relation to her own work:

I suppose the reasons for the use of so much violence in modern fiction will differ with each writer who uses it, but in my own stories I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace. Their heads are so hard that almost nothing else will do the work. This idea, that reality is something to which we must be returned at considerable cost, is one which is seldom understood by the casual reader, but it is one which is implicit in the Christian view of the world.

Where Flannery speaks of hard-headedness, Wes’ characters tend to be softer, not so much calloused by suffering and indignity as consumed with charming minutiae and narcissistic navel-gazing. But the inwardness proves intractable and warrants just as much of an abrupt, outside interruption.” (pg 16-17)

To read more…

Wes Anderson and the Catastrophe of Redemption – David Zahl

To tide you over until Mockingbird in NYC, here’s another talk from our conference in Tyler, TX. David Zahl speaks about the Gospel according to Wes Anderson.

Wes Anderson and the Catastrophe of Redemption – David Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Ethan Hawke on Acting Out the Death of Self

The tenable success of independent films in an industry dominated by major Hollywood productions has become a hot topic as the 87th Academy Awards make their approach. The pulse of this conversation exists entirely because of two names: Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater. With six Oscar nominations between the two of them just this year, and […]

Another Week Ends: Carr’s Recovery, Forgiving Anchors, Lazy Love, 50 Shades South, Kensrue’s Back, Fortitude, and Better Call Saul

1. You may have heard the news that NY Times reporter David Carr died yesterday. I remember watching the documentary Page One a few years ago and being struck by Carr’s straight-shooting personality and street-smart charm. There was something iconic about him. Maybe it was just the filmmakers doing their thing, but Carr very much came across […]

Glimmers of Civilization (and Grace) in The Grand Budapest Hotel

I was bonding with a friend in New York last week over our mutual affection for the new Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. After swapping a few favorite lines, he asked, with a twinkle in his eye, “So how’re you going to shoe-horn this one into your theological framework?” Quick wit that I […]

Three Quick Observations about “Castello Cavalcanti”

What a gift! Prada, of all places, released a beautiful (and gently cruciform) new short film from Wes Anderson a few days ago, ht RW:

Can’t resist making three quick observations: 1. Notice who/what Schwartzman crashes into (and the posture of said person/object). 2. As we never tire of saying in reference to this, what looks like a disaster here turns out to be something else. Control lost–literally–serves as prelude to receiving. Along those lines, 3. The moment Schwartzman’s drink gets comped, aka the moment he’s shown a little kindness/grace by the people whose public square he’s just ruined, he decides to stick around. Of course, Wes seems characteristically more interested in the (amazing) scenery than the narrative, but even if these elements are purely, er, accidental, that just makes them all the more meta. Ciao!

Coffee Table Maps to Lost Wholeness (Courtesy of Wes Anderson)

Spoiler alert: There’s a knee-slapping section toward the end of PZ’s Panopticon: An Off-The-Wall Guide to World Religion in which the author ranks “religions that are not called religions.” He gives us a tongue-in-cheek US News and World Report-styled guide to which of them (Sex, Power, Ideology, etc) will serve a person best, which has […]

Halloween/Reformation Day Linkathon: Equal Opportunity Holidays, Fat Letters, Midnight Coteries, The Returned and more Lou Reed

A quick grab bag in honor of the day: 1. Over at Liberate Nick Lannon reflects on the gratuity of Halloween relative to Christmas, stating from the outset that “Halloween has become more Christian than Christmas”. He’s not wrong: “Consider the theological implications of Halloween. Halloween is the ultimate equal opportunity holiday. EVERYONE gets candy. […]

Another Week Ends: OWL Pushback, Antihero Armstrong, Pearls for Gleason, New McCartney, Ambitious Slackers, Space Cowboys, Food-Profiling, and Dilbert’s Failure

1. Yesterday I mentioned the name-dropping op-ed that appeared on the Washington Post, Tullian Tchividjian’s “The Missing Message in Today’s Churches.” It’s fine little piece, notable as much for where it was published as what it is saying, most of which will be familiar to readers of this site: “Too many churches perpetuate the impression […]

You Know It’s a Good Day When

1. The breathtaking trailer for Wes Anderson’s new film hits the web:

2. Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson breaks his silence and gives an interview!

3. The Washington Post acknowledges/validates your existence. It’s almost too much. Strike up the foreboding violin music…

Another Week Ends: Fairness, The Life of Wiman, Motherly Love, Malick Sacraments, Karr Talks Saunders, Anderson Shoots Prada, and the Ke$ha Trump Card

1) The Chronicle released a preview last month to Wiman’s newest piece of work, My Bright Abyss, which we’ve already pulled from a couple of times, here and here, and the life and the illness that spurred it. Jay Parini writes that poetry criticism and commentary began by pulling the fabric of a piece of […]

Another Week Ends: Poptropica Love, Retrospective Bullies, Foolish Proof, Colbert Logs, Lucille Bluth, and the Nabokov-Anderson Connection

1) Club Penguin is one of several multimedia and game sites geared towards tweens from the ages of seven to twelve. Club Penguin itself has over 200 million registered users worldwide, and was purchased by Disney not long ago.  And there are plenty of others: Poptropica, Wee World, Moshi Monsters, Fantage. Alongside the sheer breadth […]