Wes Anderson’s Grand(iose) Budapest Hotel

7 Mar
The Wes Anderson Collection

The Wes Anderson Collection

Wes Anderson has made some about a half dozen films(Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom) that have garnered good notices and him a devoted audience.His new film Grand Budapest Hotel judging from John Powers will not doubt do the same. Yet in his thoughts on Wes Anderson and the putative homage to the great and renascent Stefan Zweig that is tacked on this film ,David Thomson reminds me why his style of thought provocation is usually a fruitful ruminative effort. As Martin Amis points out quotes and citations make a review and Thomson no doubt unpopular assessment of Anderson is amply larded with shrewd and thoughtful observation:

So why is the name Zweig so startling at the end of The Grand Budapest Hotel? To put it simply, because this film is the work of a talented and vacant young director whose “brilliance” (I’m sure the word will be used) should not conceal his indifference to the depth of experience that preoccupied Zweig


So Grand Budapest Hotel is dazzling, exhausting but bereft. It relates to the atmosphere and texture of Stefan Zweig like an achingly sweet pastry on a tin plate at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is a rococo dead end, a ferment of decoration, unwitting complacency and ignorance.

So we know that David Thomson is not a fan and that this film borders on sacrilege (allow the hyperbole) using Stefan Zweig. Thomson’s notice ends with quote from Zweig’s Beware of Pity which is illustrative of his refined sensitivity— his character comes upon a sleeping invalid

But I must not disturb this sleep, which kept her from herself, from the dread reality of her existence! It is a most wonderful thing to be close, to be near to the sick during their sleep, when all their feverish thoughts are held captive, when they are so completely oblivious of their infirmity that sometimes a smile lights upon their parted lips as a butterfly upon a delicate leaf, a smile foreign to them, a smile which does not belong to them, and which, moreover, is scared away on the very moment of awaking.

The WES ANDERSON COLLECTION by Matt Zoller Seitz (Harry N. Abrams)

Here’s a melange of previously unpublished photos, artwork, and ephemera collected by Seitz including a lengthy conversation ( one reviewer noted, “The purpose of an interview is to allow an artist to illuminate his work. But the only thing illuminated by the conversations in this book is that Wes Anderson gives a terrible interview.) between Anderson and the book’s creator. And Michael Chabon contributes a 1200 word introduction. I can’t remember the last director whose art direction was codified in book form though Anderson’s work most certainly manifests countless interesting images and sets warranting this coffee table behemoth. Michael Chabon contributes a 1200 word introduction.

Image form The We Anderson Collection

Image form The We Anderson Collection

Currently reading Ripper by Isabel Allende (Harpers)

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