Director’s Style: Wes Anderson -The Grand Budapest Hotel-

Director’s Style: Wes Anderson
-The Grand Budapest Hotel-

I’ve recently watched the latest Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and I think it is remarkable. The entire film is a feast to the eyes; the visual of the movie is spectacular. My personal opinion, the visual of the film is so outstanding and eye-catching that it covered over the plot line. (Or maybe the plot line is not the focus and it is mainly emphasized on the art and composition of each scene.) Anyhow, there is something unique and distinctive about Wes Anderson’s film and I can’t quite lay my finger upon it. His style is original and unique that it is hard to categorize his film into any particular genre. While watching The Grand Budapest Hotel, I picked up a few Wes Anderson signature film techniques that occurs in his film which makes it so special:

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1. Vibrant Color: Every scene in a Wes Anderson movie is like a color palette. The vibrant and rich color of each scene capture the audiences’ eyes. As a viewer of the movie, I admit that the color is a main reason why I enjoyed the film so much. With all the vivid colors, the presentation of each scene becomes more pleasant and amusing for the audience.

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Top: In this frame, the color scheme is red.

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Top: In this frame, the color scheme is pink.

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Top: In this frame, the color scheme is blue.

This signature move also occur in other Wes Anderson films like Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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Top: In Moonrise Kingdom the color scheme of this shot is yellow.

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Top: In Fantastic Mr. Fox the color scheme of this scene is yellow.

I think this is a great technique that I can learn and incorporate in to my film. I just need to carefully select the color of the character’s clothing, color of prop, location, and everything that comes into frame. Careful selection of color can establish the mood and atmosphere of the entire film.

2. Perfect Symmetry: Something else I notice while watching The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson’s consistent play with perfect symmetry. Many shots in this film presents a perfect symmetry for example this screenshot below:

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And this image:

 

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Wes Anderson’s incredible dedication to perfect symmetry has helped him develop his unique and distinctive film style. Many directors tend to avoid placing a character or an object in the center of the frame, however Anderson uses this technique boldly, making his film different and more appealing than others. There are researchers claiming that we, human beings, crave for perfect symmetry. Researchers found that both men and women find people with symmetrical face far more appealing than non-symmetrical ones. Our love for symmetry can also be seen through what we define as beauty, for example a butterfly, flowers, snowflakes.

3. Different Aspect Ratios: Wes Anderson shot this film in three different aspect ratios: 1.33, 1.85, and 2.35:1. This is because each aspect ratio is used to represent a certain timeline. This film contains three different timeline: 1985, 1968, and 1932. I think this is a very clever technique to differentiate time. The audience can tell what time period it is just by looking at the framing.

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Top: This aspect ratio is in the year of 1985.

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Top: This is used in the time period of 1968.

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Top: This aspect ratio is used for the time period of 1932.
I think the aspect ratio used for 1932 really came into use, not only does it help differentiate time period but it also give this feeling to the audiences as if they were watching an old film. The square framing made me feel like I was watching a film that was produced in the 1900s.
I think this technique can be easily manipulated. I can either film with different devices that gives me different framings, or I can trim the side of the film to achieve this effect. Anyways, I enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel a lot. It is very different and unique compared to any other movies I had ever seen. I also learned many new film techniques, and this film had enlightened me of Wes Anderson’s distinctive and one of a kind film style.



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