Back in mid-April, I made my sister go with me to see Isle of Dogs. It's Wes Anderson's latest film, a stop-motion animation, and it was beautifully made, although there was no doubt in my mind going in that it would not be (also my sister enjoyed it).
For a little background, I love movies. I love watching movies, going to the movies, listening to movie soundtracks and scores, and reading about film production. But Wes Anderson is my favorite director. In fact, three of his films, The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom, are my all time favorite movies. He has an incredibly distinct style, and it's so evident that you don't even need see his name- branded in Futura font, another Andersonian distinction- roll through the opening credits to know immediately that it's one of his films. From knolling (look it up, it's a technique you'll recognize it immediately) to symmetrical compositions, flat camera moves, zoom-in shots, and slow-motion walking sequences, I love that all of his films have these overarching filming elements that belong solely to him. These similarities fall under his directing umbrella, thus making him an auteur, something I admire.
I also like how he incorporates a heavy use of traditional art and design, be it through stop-motion animation, incorporation of art and paintings (I'm picturing the ones in Royal Tenenbaums), hand-lettered type (his later films have seen less of Futura), classical architecture, fanciful costumes, miniature models, and practical effects and sets. In terms of plot and storyline, I find his themes involving youth and age, familial dysfunction, betrayal, and teamwork to be relatable. And his recurring actors and actresses he's cast throughout his body of work also adds a sense of community. As artful and character-driven as his films are, I believe Wes is the type of director who does not take himself too seriously as each film he makes is sure to include dry humor and wit along with ridiculous scenarios the main characters must maneuver. He mixes melancholy with simple comedy.
A lot of my art friends admire Wes; I suppose it's because of his unique and recognizable style, and we've all been taught in art school that it is crucial to develop your own style in order to make and sell work. Wes is someone we see as novelistic and successful in film and art, and not in a flashy, mainstream, blockbuster way. I admire his inclusion of art and familiarity. I listen to his film soundtracks because they include both classic rock songs and dreamy scores, my favorite sounds to listen to when drawing. The writer in me wants to emanate his infusion of nostalgia, humor, and seriousness in plot. When I write, I think about how life can be a strange concoction of sadness, sweetness, beauty, silliness, and zaniness. I think Wes Anderson's directing technique is specifically designed to incorporate those exact elements, and perhaps that's the main reason I love his work.