There are no other filmmakers out there like Wes Anderson. His knack for making films that feel like they're, both, from another time and entirely immediate, as well as his ability to have constructed an entire working cinematic universe around his personal aesthetic tastes is astounding. (Can you tell I'm a fan?) If you've ever wanted to dive head first into a study of this universe, then you might want to check out this video series by RogerEbert.com Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz, based on his book The Wes Anderson Collection, that deconstructs each one of Anderson's films, from the cinematography to the set design.
Seitz first met Wes Anderson (and Owen Wilson) at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, while they were there showing Bottle Rocket, then a short film. After several years of staying in contact with Anderson, Seitz's editor suggested writing a book about his filmmaking style, which is what The Wes Anderson Collection became.
It's essentially a "book-long interview" with Anderson about everything that has to do with him as an artist, his evolution, his inspiration, and history. Seitz likens the conversation to one of Anderson's famous dollhouse shots -- moving from room to room, from film to film, through his entire filmography. It's a compendium of all the knowledge you'd ever want to know about Anderson in book form -- and now (not now now -- more like a year ago), Seitz did the Wes Anderson fans of the world a huge solid by adapting parts of the book into videos.
Here's a video introducing the book, which helps put the videos into perspective.
Each one of Anderson's films are broken up into chapters from 1 to 7 (from Bottle Rocket to Moonrise Kingdom), and we've shared them all with you below. Check them out!
Whether you admire Anderson or not, you can't deny that his work has made a huge impact on the cinematic world. His aesthetic is unique. His dialog, the world's he builds around his characters, the look, the tone -- everything screams "Wes Anderson". Of course, his films aren't a product of his imagination alone. With help from brilliant cinematographer Robert Yeoman and occasional writing collaborators Owen Wilson, Noah Baumbauch, and Roman Coppola, he has managed to blend the perfect amount of childlike innocence and wonder with the dull cynicism of adulthood.
In my opinion anyway.
Did you learn anything new from Seitz videos? Feel free to share your thoughts on Wes Anderson's work in the comments below.
"Whether you admire Anderson or not, you can’t deny that his work has made a huge impact on the cinematic world. His aesthetic is unique."
His work has had no impact at all. It's twee, derivative pieces of fluff.
His first two films were ok, but from Tenaubaums onwards he's been making the same forced quirkiness film ever since.
His aesthetic is unique? He's as derivative as Tarantino.
June 18, 2014 at 2:59PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
How is it forced? That's a very strange and unprovable claim.
June 18, 2014 at 3:41PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I...seriously? No impact? Nothing? You can't have an adoring cult following that permeates throughout virtually every level of the film making community and not have had some sort of influence. Come on. Regardless of whether or not his work pleases you, that's such a silly claim.
June 18, 2014 at 5:24PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I love you but you don't know what you're talking about.
June 18, 2014 at 9:59PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Beginning of last month I spent a couple of days in hospital which brought television back into my life (I have otherwise lived without a television set for a number of years) one night I zapped into the middle of a screening of 'the fantastic mr Fox' and stayed on it mainly because there was nothing else watchable on at the time. I had no idea it was a Wes Anderson movie and in fact the only Wes Anderson Movie I had seen before that was 'Moonrise Kingdom', and some Prada spot I recall to be featured on this blog a while ago.
Nevertheless after a few scenes in on mr fox I thought this looks just like a Wes Anderson movie, proving to me that in fact he does have an unmistakable style of his own. This style in a way draws me out of the story, something completely contrary to the purpose of cinematography in general; it feels more like watching a cartoon in a way. I can't say that I enjoyed watching 'Moornise Kingdom' when I first saw it (mainly because of the distracting 'quirkiness' of the overly stylized frames) but might watch it again with a different mindset now. After getting out of hospital I also watched 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' without high hopes but must say the style worked very well for the movie.
I think the fact that he sort of created a visual language with a distinctive tone of its own is quite respectable and I certainly wouldn't call it fluff, I also don't understand the reference to Tarantino who much rather seems to adopt the style of several others and mix it as a DJ would do with music. I am sure he will be studied in the future and I am certain of his impact, but I am also sure that this style will only work for a very specific type of story.
June 19, 2014 at 3:29AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Oh dear Fresno bob. His work has had a gigantic impact on the cinematic landscape. To claim otherwise just means you are completely ignorant as his influence can be undeniably seen in today's music videos, films and television content.
Would love to see your work, how about a link?
June 19, 2014 at 11:33AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Don't be silly. Anderson is the most important American filmmaker working today. Certainly the one who best fulfills the auteur theory.
June 19, 2014 at 3:25PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Every art is derivative man. That's not a good argument to judge art I think. ”Innovation“, regardless of what it means, is important; but more important is perspective, is for a piece of art to touch us on an emotional level. Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino are taking their personal influences and encyclopedic knowledge to bring us something fresh and pleasing to the screen. Frank Sinatra was not much innovative, but his voice and approach were of a rare BEAUTY, and the world fell in love with it. I feel the same way about these filmmakers. Isn't pure beauty something of value?
June 20, 2014 at 8:30PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Just because you don´t like it or get it doesn´t mean it´s forced and derivative. I´d love to see what you have to offer apart from your superficial observations here. Do you direct? Are you truly aware of the impact Anderson has had on the cinematic world? I really doubt it. Forced quirckiness? Wrong. Derivative? Who cares when he delivers such great original stories and a beautiful aesthetic with bittersweet characters and a world with rules of his own. Truly, your appreciation of film is a little weak. Are you too young or just bitter? Your comment is what´s fluffy, i´d love to see what you have to offer apart from childish and pretentious remarks.
October 1, 2014 at 1:48AM
Ive tried to watch all his films, and i couldn't get through any of them but yes he does have an aesthetic and style, reminiscent to beginnings of Tim Burton. Will they be studied 100 years from now? Maybe to a few.
June 18, 2014 at 6:18PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
What makes 'Rushmore' great is that it tells the story of Max Fischer as if it was written and directed by Max Fischer, a precocious but immature adolescent artist. But I think using this same approach on all of his subsequent pictures has left Wes Anderson ripe for parody, as in 'The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders'.
June 19, 2014 at 1:53PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I bet you enjoy the films of Wes Anderson.
June 19, 2014 at 4:05PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
As Charles Colton said, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". I would argue that parody isn't that far off... I agree though with Mark that his later films haven't really been exploring new territory to warrant as much praise as they've been getting. That doesn't presupposes Fresno Bob's perfunctory, if not flat out ignorant, judgment. I can also see how WA's elite prep school background and conditioning might not sit well with someone from Fresno...
June 19, 2014 at 4:08PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Just wanted to say thank you for sharing all of these videos. Not sure I would have encountered them otherwise and they are quite enjoyable. I am amazed to see so few people showing some appreciation for Mr. Anderson given the nature of this site. I would have guessed otherwise, even just for the technical aspects of his filmmaking.
June 19, 2014 at 4:45PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
He makes films with a much to say as a perfume commercial.
His style is a filtered down audience-friendly Nouvelle Vague-lite.
And he's been making the same film over and over since Tenaubaums.
Then I'd wager you haven't really seen enough cinema.
As Anderson is just regurgitating.
June 27, 2014 at 2:00PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
You´re so butthurt about it! Let it go, you´ll never be half the man he is let alone the filmmaker. I´d love to know what you think you have seen. I have been watching films since age 4, and i´m talking about Godard, Anger, Fellini and Tarkovsky as a starting point. How come after thirty years of flim watching and movie making i´m not as anal as you about Mr Anderson? You have no taste, that´s what i see. People like you are what gives fresno a bad name. ;)
October 1, 2014 at 2:02AM
Every one of Wes Anderson's films FAILS in the editing room.
Like all great masterpieces his failure comes down to purpose. Wes is too in love with his cinematography & writing and not in love enough with the FUNCTION of his movies. When a director loses site of his purpose, he makes the fatal mistake of producing extraneous or contradictory themes and visuals.
Take his greatest film--and one of the greatest films of all time--Fantastic Mr. Fox. It's a colorist's wet dream. An otherwise historically vanilla-themed yellow tone is deftly and masterfully molded into an enchanting, heart-warming, leisurely stroll through the gentle kaleidoscope of melancholy identity crises and common family troubles. The colors guide your emotions across meadows of typically paralyzing social problems as if they were nothing more than emotional daisies to be rightly picked, discarded, decorated with, or ignored at one's leisure.
Now contrast this supremely controlled color palette with that cunt, Mrs. Fox, who scrapes the flesh off Mr. Fox, producing an unsettling gash on his cheek. All the yellow and orange hues in the world aren't going to undo the damage of seeing the quintessential man getting cucked by a mere story-incidental woman. We are once again crudely violated with the bullshit feminist social norm that men are bad and women are good; men are petty and women are noble; men are mistakes and women are solutions. Fuck you, Wes. Just because you're a woman masquerading as a man doesn't mean the rest of mankind wants to follow in your emasculated footsteps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OhODgNWrZk
Also, the theme of unrequited love is prevalent in most of Wes's films because that is the fate of all emasculated males. They pine after the very thing they repel through their own personal shame and deferential behavior. This is ironic considering how bold the characters are (even though conspicuously hampered by their contrasting monotone expression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeuseT7PUR4 ) Yet with all of Mr. Fox's boldness, he like many other males in the Wes Anderson universe are completely unable to stand up to women. They passively cower or actively defer. In either case, the result is the same; a cucked version of manhood passed off as progressive masculinity.
How is the audience supposed to react? Are we supposed to cheer for Mr. Fox's obvious loss of balls? Are we supposed to root for a male who is essentially apologizing for his very existence to a female who in real life wouldn't be fit to shine his boots? Is this picturesque emasculation supposed to quench our thirst for meaning in an otherwise female-centric universe?
Wes's strength, like all emasculated males, lies in his tone, not his message. His legacy is one of feeling, not significance. And this most cherished of movies falls face first on the editing floor. It is at once beautiful and repellant, free-spirited and full of feminist propaganda, tender and pretentious. If I could edit out the hipster hubris and eccentric arrogance, I could easily turn this film into the true masterpiece it deserves to be. As it stands, it has the correct skeletal structure of a deliciously satisfying apple pie experience ruined by the conspicuously dead fly of feminist ideology polluting its fleshy core.
A for effort. C for effect.
December 22, 2016 at 4:36PM, Edited December 22, 4:39PM