Wednesday, 26 May 2010

"Mix-Tape Cinema": studies of Wes Anderson's films

Links added May 27, 2010
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Wes Anderson at the New York Public Library (

On the occasion of today's publication by of the above entertaining and informative video, Film Studies For Free presents a (rather) small but (almost) perfectly formed compendium of links to freely accessible studies of the joyous/poignant/whimsical/arch/'scavenger' films of US writer/director Wes Anderson. As usual, if readers know of any other good online material to add to the below list, do please get in touch.

The Substance of Style, Pt 1Wes Anderson and his pantheon of heroes (Schulz, Welles, Truffaut) by Matt Zoller Seitz  posted March 30, 2009 

The above video is the first in a five-part series of video essays analyzing the key influences on Wes Anderson’s style. Part 2 covers Martin Scorsese, Richard Lester, and Mike Nichols. Part 3 covers Hal Ashby. Part 4 covers J.D. Salinger. Part 5 is an annotated version of the prologue to The Royal Tenenbaums.

'The Films of Wes Anderson' (great clip 'mix-tape'/montage) by Paul Proulx

"A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, I watched a film called Bottle Rocket. I knew nothing about it, and the movie really took me by surprise. Here was a picture without a trace of cynicism, that obviously grew out of its director's affection for his characters in particular and for people in general. A rarity. And the central idea of the film is so delicate, so human: A group of young guys think that their lives have to be filled with risk and danger in order to be real. They don't know that it's okay simply to be who they are." Martin Scorsese, 'Wes Anderson', Esquire, March 1, 2000
"Whenever I am getting ready to make a movie I look at other movies I love in order to answer the same recurring question: How is this done, again? I can never seem to remember, and I don’t mean that to be glib. I also hope people don’t throw it back in my face. Making a movie is very complicated, and it seems like kind of a miracle when it actually works out. Hal Ashby made five or six great movies in a row, and that seems to be practically unheard of." 'Wes Anderson on [Hal Ashby's] The Last Detail' in 'The Director's Director', by Jennifer Wachtel, GOOD, June 18, 2008
"In narrative, whimsy emphasizes the unexpected links that connect disparate ideas or events, but the connections must be meaningful. Richard Linklater’s Slacker (1991) is not whimsical because it never proposes that the links between its scenes are anything more than incidental. It embraces insignificance and ponders the possibility of elevating apathy into anarchy. Wes Anderson’s films are whimsical because their unexpected juxtapositions are imbued with sentimental significance. As a visual mode, whimsy favours busy frames and compositions that distract viewers from the centre. It rewards those willing to explore the edges with jokes buried in marginalia or Dalmatian mice sniffing around in the corner of an elaborately composed shot. In all cases whimsy values the ability to appreciate the aesthetic harmony possible among myriad incongruent objects. It draws attention to the act of perception and the sensibility of the perceiver." Charlotte Taylor, 'The Importance of Being Earnest', Frieze Magazine, Issue 92, June-August 2005
'...[S]tuff like Wes Anderson mix-tape cinema...', Michael Sicinski, 'Songs Sung Blue: The Films of Michael Robinson', Cinema-scope, 33 

1 comment:

Michael said...

This link is broken: "•Elena Gorfinkel, 'The Future of Anachronism: Todd Haynes and the Magnificent Andersons', Cinephilia Movies, Love and Memory, Edited by Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005 - large PDF: scroll to p. 153)"

While I am here, let me just say your site is amazing and lives up to its beautiful name! Thanks!