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Wes Anderson

The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar – Wes Anderson (2023)

  • arthouse

A nice surrealistic comedy short (37 minutes) available on Netflix.

A traveler through India hears of a yogi who levitates while meditating. When trying to learn that for himself, he instead develops the ability to see without eyes. He writes his story in a short book that is found by Henry Sugar who decides to learn the art of seeing through playing cards in order to get rich.

All three men need years to develop their abilities, which is pictured in broad strokes. There is more attention for witty monologues and funny situations and how Sugar tries to help the world without becoming famous.

Asteroid City – Wes Anderson (2023)

Anderson comes with another quirky arthouse comedy. Perhaps it is even more quirky than “Grand Budapest Hotel“.

Somewhere in an American desert, an incoming asteroid left a crater. Near that crater Asteroid City was built. A tiny, sleepy town which consists only of a road, a railway and a few buildings. Every year the commemoration of the asteroid brings a gathering of young and upcoming scientists to show off their latest investigations.

“Asteroid City” is a film about the making of a play with of course a story in a story. That starting point may not be unique, but Anderson worked it out wonderfully. The stages look like colorful play-stages which allowed the director to create wonderful ‘symmetrical camera work’, slowly moving shots, amusing animations, long motionless shots and of course the picture-like shots of Scarlet Johansson.

Just as in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” there is an interesting range of actors. Tom Hanks, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton and Jeff Goldblum as the alien.

The story is minimalist, slightly absurdist, the odd characters play odd games, even the speeches are weird. The result is a highly amusing arthouse film of which too few come to my attention.

The Grand Budapest Hotel * Wes Anderson (2014)

This highly acclaimed film was not too high on my wishlist, but my girlfriend already saw it and thought that I should too. It is a nice film indeed.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” has a bit of the atmosphere of “Amélie“; slightly absurdistically surrealistic, both romantic and somewhat tragic and with colourfull stages and weird characters and situations.

A writer goes to the gone-glory Grand Budapest Hotel where he meets the owner. This owner tells him the story of how he came to possess the hotel. A weird story about the “legendary concierge” Gustave H. unfolds. This extremely distiguished gentleman seems to be the main reason for the rich and famous to come to the hotel. When a customer of his dies and leaves Gustave a priceless painting, the family of the deceased opens all cabinets to prevent the concierge from obtaining the most valuable item of the legacy. Gustave and his favourite bellboy try to clear Gustave’s name.

The film contains a range of famous actors in unlikely roles which certainly adds to the amusement of the film. For the rest, it is a film for people like light, but ‘high brow’ comedy and the slightly surrealistic films like those of Jeanne-Pierre Jeunet or Paul Thomas Andersson.