(AFP) – American director Wes Anderson does not make comedies, dramas or adventure films. He’s playing Wes Anderson. A cinematographic recipe unlike any other, tinged with sweet madness and that he pushes further than ever with “The French Dispatch”, in theaters Wednesday in France.
With his youthful face at 52, his dandy airs, Wes Anderson seems straight out of his own films.
The author of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” or “On board the Darjeeling Limited” does nothing like the others: in Cannes in July, where “The French Dispatch” was presented, it is on board a bus that the XXL casting of his film has landed to ignite the red carpet.
The faithful Bill Murray was there, who walks from film to film his phlegm and his deadpan air, Panama on his head. Also accompanied by Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson, other faithful “Andersonians”, and recent converts, like Timothée Chalamet and Benicio del Toro, as a summary of the universe both hype and quirky of Wes Anderson.
His film concentrates the inimitable know-how of this magician of the image, distant heir to Méliès obsessed with detail and symmetry, which he cultivated since his beginnings, with “The Tenenbaum family” or “The aquatic life”.
“Even though my films can sometimes seem a bit Byzantine and complex, all I want to do is tell a story in a conventional way,” Wes Anderson told AFP in Cannes. “I have my characters, I want to build a world for them and bring the viewer into them”, continues the one who likes “to work in (his) small space separated from the industry”.
Because few directors are so associated with such a specific style, dotted with obsessive characters.
– “An easy guy” –
To achieve this, Wes Anderson has kept total artistic control over his creations. “I have my group of people that I work with, we work in our own space, a bit separate from the industry. Maybe that’s also why I don’t often work in the United States,” he said. he added.
The luxury cast gathered to shoot “The French Dispatch” in Angoulême gives the measure of the aura of the man whose sets are said to be very convivial.
These faithful “turn in his films because it’s funny,” British critic Dorian Lynskey told AFP. “He is an easy type, who nevertheless produces a total aesthetic, that one would imagine rather associated with a difficult director”.
Nominated seven times at the Oscars, but never a winner, this Hollywood UFO was competing for the second time for the Palme d’Or in Cannes, after “Moonrise Kingdom” in 2012.
If his universe is tender, the tone is sometimes deceptively childish, in this director marked by the divorce of his parents at the age of eight. His work is crossed by the dramas of life: abandonment, suicide, the loss of illusions … Some of these themes, but also confinement or kidnapping, also emerge in “The French Dispatch”.
“It seems he is particularly nostalgic for his 12 years (…) an age when one can be totally overwhelmed by love at first sight, where a book can take the place of your whole world”, writes Sophie Monks Kaufman, author of a book on the filmmaker.
His cinema is sometimes described as mannered, cut out for hipsters with his taste for the ironic wink and the old-fashioned, and the sepia postcard of France from the 1960s that he delivers may annoy. But his images had a wide influence, from interior design to pubs for Gucci. An Instagram account, “Accidentally Wes Anderson” also lists photos of real places that deserve to appear in his films.
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Wes Anderson, the filmmaker who started his own small industry