It will come as little surprise to anyone that I am a huge Wes Anderson fan.
The first time I was exposed to his work was when, at college and obsessed with The Catcher in the Rye, a friend lent me his VHS copy of Rushmore, which he sold to me as “the film version of Catcher.” When it wasn’t exactly that, I returned the cassette and told him that he was wrong. It took a little longer for me to then sit down with a DVD copy of The Darjeeling Limited and recognise that I had been wrong about Rushmore. Cue over a decade of listening to Mark Mothersbaugh and Alexandre Desplat scores, turning up my jeans and telling everyone to Fuck The Itinerary.
There are some of Anderson’s films that I love more than others, but there are some of my godchildren that I love more than others. It’s all dependant on which of them I’ve connected with the most recently. I don’t know if I’m talking about the former or the latter anymore. Sometimes it’s the family relationships in Bottle Rocket that gets me, other times it’s the family relationships in The Royal Tenenbaums. On occasion, it’s the family relationships in Fantastic Mr. Fox. The fact remains. All Wes Anderson films are to be enjoyed.
I was therefore very excited to hear that The French Dispatch was on the way. Like everything in the last year, it was delayed, and then moved, and then put off completely, until now, when we are just about due a visit to our local multiplex, as long as the other inhabitants of Southend aren’t considered too slack-jawed to spend their precious shekels on something other than Vin Diesel smashing vehicles together like a kid with a box of Matchbox cars.
Ahead of the release, we were lucky enough to get tickets to the French Dispatch Exhibition at 180 The Strand.
“Featuring original sets, props, costumes, and artwork illuminating the unique aesthetic of Wes Anderson’s ‘The French Dispatch’. Visitors will have the chance to enjoy “Le Sans Blague” Cafe serving classic French refreshments as well as receive a copy of the limited edition The French Dispatch magazine.”
While there may be something to be said about seeing the film before visiting the exhibition (like reading the book before you see the film in other cases), I was completely won over by the costumes, the miniatures of the sets and the intricate handwritten and typewritten notes that accompany the film and which I will now eagerly look out for.
Because a picture speaks a thousand words, here are a number of them for your consideration.
As well as the exhibition, it’s worth sitting in Le Sans Blague for a coffee, because, that too, is very Wes Anderson.