At its center, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) is a tale of days gone by, an era that has passed us. It is enjoyable because it is a glimpse into a stylized snapshot, potent with nostalgia and quirky eccentricity, a phrase I’m sure has been used to describe Wes Anderson’s films since Bottle Rocket.
But what makes this film in particular so enjoyable to watch? When it comes to narrative technique, composition, and dialogue, it really hits the sweet spot, but what interested me most was the symmetrical composition, which I’m about to dive right on into.
I. Proud Mary
The rain kings had left the city. The Chinese laborers did not bet on the monsoons anymore, nor the mango rains. The billboards for Alain Delon cigarettes tattered in the wind, sun-faded and old.
Rock and roll was still playing in the bars; when the bombs fell nearby, the band stopped, if only to tell whether the roof would fall on their heads or if they would be spared to play another day. None of the clubs were open due to the night curfew, so the afternoon became midnight, bands playing to candlelight.
One day, all was silent. There is a peculiar feeling in the air when a city is quiet, as if the body knows something is wrong; people, together, are supposed to make noise. Phnom Penh had been under heavy bombardment, first from the Americans, and then from the incoming CPK. Quiet meant a conclusion had been reached.
The Mousetrap: Play Within A Play
When we last left Elsinore, Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh) had caught onto his uncle Claudius’ (Derek Jacobi) plot to usurp the throne from his murdered brother, and conspired with a visiting troupe of actors to form a play within a play to reveal Claudius’ guilt.
In performances of Hamlet past and present, the play is usually presented as a psychological gambit, a way for the prince of Denmark to suss out his uncle’s intent in open court. Also known as a mise en abyme, the ‘play within a play’ plot is a good narrative technique to peer into character’s psychological states due to its often referential nature to the larger story’s plot.
“Branagh’s Hamlet: Composition and Color Pt II” will be back tomorrow!
Hamlet can be played as a melodrama, or as a tragedy; the two are not entirely immiscible, but the grandiosity and the melancholy of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays leaves it often to interpretation. There have been numerous film adaptations and adaptors: Laurence Olivier (1946), Grigori Kozintsev (1964), Tony Richardson (1969), Ethan Hawke (2000). The tale of the downfall of the prince of Denmark and his family contains the same classic messages and timeless themes that initially made it famous, and today we take a look at Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996).
Alfred Hitchcock began before the talkies; his career in film started in 1919 as a card illustrator for silent pictures. As a consequence, his films pay special attention to their visual components, with the director once stating that he would create pictorial action to keep the audience invested, just in case the audio in the cinema went out.
Tarantino is famous for being a multi-faceted creator; he writes his own movies, he directs them, and more often than not he puts himself in them. His films most known for their dialogue, sharp, cool, and lean, but what happens if we take that away, and look at his choices as a director, specifically focusing on costuming? Let’s take a look at the costumes and characters of Pulp Fiction (1994).
It is the national holiday of Quebec today, so I will be skipping the movie this evening. I will be back tomorrow with “Color and Composition: Pulp Fiction”
Bonne fête soirée!
Hey all, just letting you know there will not be a post tonight. I will resume standard operations tomorrow!