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Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch"

Art, Music, Literature and other non-yogurty cultured things.
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DerGolgo
Zaphod's Zeitgeist
Location: Potato

Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch"

Post by DerGolgo » Tue Dec 21, 2021 3:30 pm

TFD_DIS_Apollo_Aachen_Billboard.jpg
I watched it today and felt I had to tell someone.
Thing is that, somehow, it had passed me by. And before today, I had not even known it existed. I had not even known what it was when I hit play. I just thought the premise and title sounded interesting.
It took about three seconds for me to wonder "say, why does this look like a Wes Anderson movie?".

The French Dispatch is, by far, the single most Wes Anderson Wes Anderson movie yet. Seriously. It makes The Life Aquatic look tame. It's balls out on fire wild peculiar.

I'm a somewhat cynical movie viewer. And while I have a high pain tolerance, most of the time, even good movies progress in a familiar manner. If not always the same exact plot developments, then at least some common tropes and common beats.
And I dare say.
In The French Dispatch, at no point did stuff go where I thought it would be going. It was the first time in a very long time that I put the movie on my main monitor, rather than my side monitor, and did nothing else while watching it. It is 200 proof captivating oddness.

Obviously, Wes Anderson's usual cast is present. Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, etc.
But they don't take up that much screen time, actually, and we get a bunch of new-ish Andersonites. Tilda Swinton, Benicio del Toro, Willem Dafoe. See if you can spot Christoph Waltz!

The plot isn't, really. And it doesn't have to be.
The owner/editor of a small arts and culture magazine, published out of beautiful Ennui, France, dies. On the occasion of his death, we are introduced to some of the highly regarded authors working for the magazine, and each author's work is introduced with an episode, telling a story that he author in question wrote. Each of these episodes is as much about the author in question as it is about the subject of their writing.
Spoiler
Show
The first is a cycling tour of the curious, historic city of Ennui, France. And then we get into the more substantial bits.

One is the story of an artist, locked up in a facility for the criminally insane, for decapitating a pair of bartenders with a power saw. Inside, one of the guards models for him, and one of his paintings get out - turning him into the messiah of modern art, basically, prompting violent riots everywhere that one painting is displayed.
Of course, "his" art dealer is desperate to get more material from that artist. Who is serving a double life sentence and, due to the art dealer's sterling efforts, has lost all rights to plead for clemency or parole.
Hilarity ensues.

Another is basically set in the midst of the 1968 French student riots.
Which, here, take odd forms. Like an infamous "chess riot". Where one of the rioting students and the mayor of the town have a chess duel, mediated by police loudhailers.
The story is about love, political activism, resistance, and loneliness. It's beautiful, in a way.

One more relates to the life and work of Monsieur Nescaffier, the uncontested master of haute cuisine that exists specifically so policemen can eat it one-handed while they work. It's France. Of course the cops eat haute cuisine on a stakeout!
There is a kidnapping, so many shoot-outs, a car chase involving a police-issue circus strongman on the bonnet ripping off the windscreen wipers, and so much cooking. Oh so much cooking.

Finally, having to arrange the final issue of the magazine, since the editor/owner stipulated in his will that it be shut down and cease publication, all those curious authors must come up with an obituary.
This film needs no plot. It doesn't really have much of one, but that is absolutely just secondary to the characters, dialog, and narration.

I highly recommend.
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motorpsycho67
Double-dip Diogenes
Location: City of Angels

Re: Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch"

Post by motorpsycho67 » Wed Dec 22, 2021 1:41 am

DerGolgo wrote:
Tue Dec 21, 2021 3:30 pm

The French Dispatch

Not available in the US
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DerGolgo
Zaphod's Zeitgeist
Location: Potato

Re: Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch"

Post by DerGolgo » Wed Dec 22, 2021 2:41 am

motorpsycho67 wrote:
Wed Dec 22, 2021 1:41 am
DerGolgo wrote:
Tue Dec 21, 2021 3:30 pm

The French Dispatch

Not available in the US yet
Fixed that for ya. Worth the wait, I assure you.
If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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Jaeger
Baron von Scrapple
Location: NoVA
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Re: Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch"

Post by Jaeger » Tue Dec 28, 2021 9:26 am

This sounds bonkers enough I'll keep an eye out for it. :mrgreen:

--Jaeger
Bigshankhank wrote:The world is a fucking wreck, but there is still sunshine in some places. Go outside and look for it.
<<NEUTIQUAM ERRO>>
2018 Indian Scout -- "Lilah"

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DerGolgo
Zaphod's Zeitgeist
Location: Potato

Re: Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch"

Post by DerGolgo » Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:34 pm

We Anderson fans of course know that he is what is curiously rare in cinema, a true visual storyteller. In that the visuals, everything from set design to hairstyles and whatnot, emote just as much as his actors do.

Here is a (spoiler laden) video illuminating some of the cineastic madness that he used to put together The French Dispatch.
Spoiler
Show
If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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