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VIDEO: The Magnificent Andersons

by Nelson Carvajal
May 25, 2012 1:06 PM
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Wes Anderson has established himself as an irreplaceable and elusive American storyteller. At age 43, Anderson has already made films about the romance of crime (Bottle Rocket), a philanderer's gullibility (Rushmore), the unraveling of a family unit (Royal Tenenbaums), another family’s vitality (Life Aquatic), existential self-examination (Darjeeling Limited) and the impermanence of existence (Fantastic Mr. Fox--in animated form!). Anderson’s new film, Moonrise Kingdom, tackles the perils of young love.

Yet, for a director who addresses such heavy themes in his work, Anderson himself remains an enigma. His public persona—sporting a hipster-ish corduroy and scarf-laden wardrobe—suggests that he is quiet, quirky, and undeniably cerebral. His films all share the borrowed visual scheme of his “pantheon of artistic heroes” (Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols, and Orson Welles, among others). But trying to create a unified director profile for him is trite. Although Anderson seems quite the beaming poster-boy auteur, his films all contain a powerful undercurrent of much darker truths (the negligent father, the denial of failure, 21st century fatalism). If one looks past all the nifty camerawork, droll humor, and spot-on folk-rock soundtracks in the Anderson filmography, it’s obvious that Anderson is conveying the great American narrative of today: a narrative that follows fatherless children, refusing to grow up in an increasingly absurd world.

Nelson Carvajal is an independent digital filmmaker, writer and content creator based out of Chicago, Illinois. His digital short films usually contain appropriated content and have screened at such venues as the London Underground Film Festival. Carvajal runs a blog called FREE CINEMA NOW which boasts the tagline: "Liberating Independent Film And Video From A Prehistoric Value System."

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  • giuliorasi | May 27, 2012 6:47 AMReply

    sorry, you messed up the aspect ratios, and you cannot do this to Anderson's composition style. You simply cannot.

  • NELSON CARVAJAL | June 1, 2012 12:36 PM

    I've been trying to develop a more expansive--using the 640 x 360 ratio--visual experience with my video essays. Outside of something being a complete 4:3 frame (like select clips in my video piece on Harmony Korine -, my style is to ultimately fill the screen. In sum, we all know the widescreen composition styles of filmmakers like Wes Anderson, so it's not really blasphemy; the video essay form is just a different beast entirely.

  • andrew | May 25, 2012 7:03 PMReply

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