Wes Anderson has been on the site a lot in the past week, most recently with the release of a trailer for the now much anticipated "The Grand Budapest Hotel" but also for The Wes Anderson Collection, a book by Matt Zoller Seitz. It seems as though he is also releasing a video essay series on each of Anderson's films starting with Bottle Rocket. So here is some weekend watching for you that could be nicely complimented with the films themselves...
"This new series is an adaptation of my book, which is itself adapted from another video essay series, "The Substance of Style," a five-parter that I wrote, narrated and edited back in the spring of 2009. The book came about because Wes contacted me in summer of 2009 to say he'd seen the video series and liked it, and then a few weeks later Eric Klopfer, my future book editor, wrote me to say he was a big Wes Anderson fan and wanted to do a book about his movies, and would it be possible to somehow adapt "The Substance of Style" to hardcover form? So I figured out a way to combine an interview with Wes and an adaptation of the video essay series, which eventually led to "The Wes Anderson Collection."
Of course at that time, Wes hadn't released "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" yet, so I couldn't account for that in "The Substance of Style." And "Moonrise Kingdom" was barely a glimmer in his eye, probably.
I thought it would be fun to do a "second edition" of that video series, after having seen two more Wes films and gained a lot of inside knowledge about Wes and his movies by interviewing him for the book. I originally thought about approaching this new series as I had in the first time, scrutinizing the totality of the work in a somewhat detached way, but as I started writing the narration and adding in editing suggestions for Steven, I realized that the whole process felt different.
As Steven pointed out to me in the editing room this weekend, "The Substance of Style" was analytical, but this new series is more emotional. It also feels a bit more like a traditional documentary in places, though there are characteristic digressions into nerdy areas. This opening chapter, for instance, has a detour about the state of American independent film in the early 90s and how directors built their careers, and why "Bottle Rocket" was a break from that tradition.
Part 2, about "Rushmore", will run Wednesday, Oct 16, "The Royal Tenenbaums" on Friday, Oct. 18, "The Life Aquatic" on Monday, Oct. 21, "The Darjeeling Limited" on Wednesday, Oct. 23, and we'll finish out the series with a double feature of "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "Moonrise Kingdom" on Friday, Oct. 25.
Here we go! Thanks, as always, for reading and watching." -Matt Zoller Seitz