Witty and fast-paced, Wes Anderson’s film triggers in us a compulsion to move on.
The flux of our thoughts tries to keep up.
Spatial and temporal crossroads, artistic media border crossing.
Inter-filmic or visual cues, such as the scooter flying across the sky, or the character climbing a tower.
Moving images to stage the timeless dramas of human lives and their returning cycles.
Journalistic stories that become movie script—a new form of video essay in the making?
The trademark style with the use of the grotesque mode to keep the action balanced between comedy and terror.
The comedy of manners, the terror of our human predicaments.
The particular collage of the incongruous superimposed on to the realistic.
The realm of the absurd to turn everything into some larger story. Kafka comes to mind frequently who, as Ben Okri said so beautifully in a recent podcast, is unique in “his ability to universalize reality while being particular”.
The setting often looks like a set in a nod to early cinema and silent film; the occasional use of black and white is another hint, as well as a gesture towards the world of the written page that was the first ecosystem for the fictional plant to unfold.
Stunning performances, with a gallery of first-rate actors and bewildering characters.
The atemporal script of the oppressed against the powerful, the pretentions of the rich and their vanity, the imprisonment of some and the impunity of others, the bribing of some, the sacrifice of others.
As in Grand Budapest Hotel, political issues are always around the corner—literally, in this case, as the urban setting serves as a backdrop to the stories.
An easily recognizable Paris under the mask of Ennui, a sort of Faulknerian trick to re-imagine and re-invent place into space, with the writer or filmmaker as “sole owner and proprietor”. A “cosmos of his own” that becomes a dream of ours.
Inter-mediality (cinema, theatre, and cartoons) invites the viewer to re-engage with the magic of film.
The viewers will have their favorite story, just like readers of The New Yorker have their preferred section of the magazine. Each looks so real, yet we are relieved to be brought back into the fold of fiction, in particular when the cartoon sequences kick in. After all, we are watching a movie, not reading pages from its double in a contemporary world we are trying to escape momentarily.
A welcome shelter-in-place in a time of endless shifting, the treat of being able to sit still and experience the trepidation of our moving lives from the comfort of the dark room retrieved and reexperienced anew with mask wearing and viewer distancing.
But I felt that the show has gone on despite it all.
“A new flavor”, as Chef Nescaffier says in one of the stories, and the longing for what was “our homes”.
On the way out, I made a pledge to myself: time to resume the weekly screenings!
Coda: The Nice Dispatch:
Children cleaning up the Prom: a school project, they said.
Taking care of our “common house”, I thought.
A newly felt awareness of its vulnerability as we are still experiencing ours?
I cheered and smiled and laughed. We all did.
A new beach flavor. And homes: habitats of care and compassion.