GLASGOW FILM FESTIVAL
Ahead of his new ﬁ lm being premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival, Hannah McGill helps build the perfect Wes Anderson movie
W es Anderson World. A realm of precocious children and disappointing idiosyncratic outi ts and parents; sublimated crushes; deadpan interactions and Futura font intertitles. Some people would dearly love to live there. Others balk at its cutesiness, and crave to disrupt its smooth, colourful surfaces with some manifestation of cruel reality: a poor person; an uncoordinated outi t; a household artefact crafted after 1970. But, however you feel about the rarei ed environs that Anderson has created to house his delicately distraught characters, there is no denying that he has a stronger directorial stamp than most in his line of work: an emotional and visual environment that is his and his alone. Even the apparent departure that was his 2009 stop-motion animated Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr Fox conferred upon its animal characters very recognisable temperaments and style choices. Ahead of his Glasgow Film Festival premiere of The Grand Budapest Hotel, here are six key signs that you are watching – or perhaps even living in – Wes Anderson World.
1 THOSE UNRELIABLE FATHER FIGURES Herman Blume in Rushmore. Royal Tenenbaum in The Royal Tenenbaums. Steve Zissou in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Mr Fox in Fantastic Mr Fox. The hard-to-reach patriarch
22 THE LIST 23 Jan–20 Feb 2014
whose self-centredness or simple unavailability damages his nearest and dearest is a recurring feature of the Anderson oeuvre. Typically, the father i gure’s journey involves a certain degree of self-reinvention, but the narrative treats him with indulgence: the people around him must also learn to accept his l awed being or, as he might see it, his essential nature. As Mr Fox shrugs when confronted with his misbehaviour: ‘I’m a wild animal’. Mothers in Wes Anderson World are more likely to be long-suffering paragons, or not seen much at all. 2 THOSE FLAWLESS MUSIC CHOICES In collaboration with the American indie movie scene’s go-to music supervisor, Randall Poster, and composer Mark Mothersbaugh (also of Devo), Anderson puts together the kind of soundtracks that frequently inspire unrestrained seat dancing, a discreet snifl e, or a sudden frenzied search for music by an artist you’d never heard of or forgotten all about. Anderson has a particular weakness for 60s British pop, but he’s also used the Proclaimers, Benjamin Britten, Nico and the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
3 THOSE BEAUTIFUL/ HIDEOUS CLOTHING CHOICES The mannered style of dress towards which
Anderson’s characters tend is one of the distancing, overly arch factors to which those detractors point; but if you appreciate clothes that are visual gags in themselves, it’s all part of the pleasure. His attention to onscreen clothing is either much more or much less phoney if you consider that Anderson himself has a very considered look, favouring tight-i tting, short- cropped bespoke corduroy suits by New York tailor Mr Ned (Mr Fox’s outi t was made from offcuts of one such suit). 4 NOSTALGIA FOR THE OVERLOOKED DETAILS OF CHILDHOOD One of the best tiny moments in The Royal Tenenbaums sees Royal Tenenbaum and his son Chas have a tense encounter in a walk-in