[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he success of every filmmaker depends on their ability to create compelling stories that elevate reality, express genuine human emotions, and spark imagination and creativity. One of those iconic filmmakers who encapsulates that full spectrum is none other than Wesley Wales Anderson.
He is undoubtedly a master of visual storytelling – as soon as the opening image of the film is revealed, we know that we’ve been pulled into his unique cinematic world. His ability to utilize and harmonize color palettes vividly heightens the story in a way that words could never express.
Growing up in Houston Texas, he spent his time writing plays and playing around with his father’s Super-8. At that time, he looked up to George Lucas and Alfred Hitchcock for creative inspiration. Interestingly, Anderson majored in Philosophy when he attended the University of Texas at Austin. It was only when he crossed paths with Owen Wilson, who attended the same university, that his passion for screenwriting and filmmaking came to fruition. Together, they created short films, the first of which, Bottle Rocket (1996), received praise and recognition at the highly-acclaimed Sundance Film Festival and was eventually turned into a feature-length film. Even renowned filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, was impressed by his style. It goes to show that even if you don’t have a degree in film and live in the entertainment capital of the world, you have the capability to be a great filmmaker if you make use of your resources wisely.
It was only when he crossed paths with Owen Wilson, who attended the same university, that his passion for screenwriting and filmmaking came to fruition.
Since then, he became unstoppable in the world of entertainment and became the talk of the town shortly after he produced remarkable films such as Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) to name a few.
Style Over Substance?
As a result of his highly-stylized films, a lot of critics called him out for prioritizing style over substance. Anderson expressed that he simply desires to create films that have a personal connection and at the same time take the audience to a place of wonder and awe.
For a brief period, he thought of swerving to a different approach when it comes to staging and designing his elaborate set pieces but realized that his well-defined style is what makes him a cut above the rest.
…symmetry in framing characters and props in a scene, creating inimitable patterns, elaborate choice of wardrobe, transforming bare locations, and experimenting on color schemes tell a tale of their own.
His brilliant use of symmetry in framing characters and props in a scene, creating inimitable patterns, elaborate choice of wardrobe, transforming bare locations, and experimenting on color schemes tell a tale of their own. Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) is a living testament to this, an Oscar-nominated period piece that amplified the manifestation of Eastern European relics as if it existed in the present while exceptionally capturing the reality of people living in prosperous Europe before it fell into the hands of the world’s most notorious dictator. On the other hand, Isle of Dogs (2018), his new stop-motion animated film (which he wrote, produced, and directed), has already bagged a prestigious Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. It also made history for being the first animated film to open the celebrated festival.
Anderson’s creative process starts with meticulously crafting the hand-drawn storyboard, visualizing the characters in every shot, and the kind of emotions he aims to get across through the musical score. Nevertheless, he ultimately believes that collaboration is the key factor in producing a film that goes beyond expectations. Despite being a creative genius on his own, he prefers the guidance and help of his team and other creatives to figure out how to get some ideas across in order to better execute it and keep inaccuracies to a minimum.
…he ultimately believes that collaboration is the key factor in producing a film that goes beyond expectations.
The manner in which he creatively depicts fiction while subtly mirroring societal issues and human struggles in every scene goes to show that he prioritizes the heart of the matter above all.
The Great Auteur
The reason why moviegoers, whether they’re a fan or not, could characterize a Wes Anderson film in a blink of an eye is due to his refusal to go with Hollywood trends and traditions.
Not many other filmmakers could come close to the artistic capability of Wes Anderson. I personally believe that his masterpieces deserve their own museum for their individuality. Being a multifaceted director and writer is living proof that he is a legend whose legacy will live on and serve as an inspiration for present and future generations.
The reason why moviegoers, whether they’re a fan or not, could characterize a Wes Anderson film in a blink of an eye is due to his refusal to go with Hollywood trends and traditions. While there are some who criticize his approach, he believes in staying true to his artistic vision, which is a value I correspondingly uphold as a storyteller.
Being authentic and honest about your own art is how a filmmaker effortlessly earns crème of the crop status in a competitive industry and the hearts of a hard to please audience, and nobody does it better than Wes Anderson.