Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Wes Anderson Collection The Grand Budapest Hotel

On a recent trip to Dunedin I finally bought a copy of The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel from the University Bookshop. What a treat of a book.

Published in 2015 by Abrams and written by Matt Zoller Seitz it is packed with interviews, behind the scenes photos and is worth every cent. I saw the film last year and loved it.

Abrams specialise in publishing Art books and have a website.

Wes Anderson assembled a great crew to work on the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. The film employs a lot of old school visual tricks and makes great use of miniatures. I really like this film comedy.

Walter O. Koenig wrote in his review on Amazon:

"The author of this new book Matt Zoller Seitz, also published "The Wes Anderson Collection" which covers the first seven Wes Anderson Films. I own the book and all the films and greatly enjoyed reading the informative book. This new book follows the same format, but instead of covering a film in 35-45 pages, we have 256 pages about "The Grand Budapest Hotel" only. Lavishly illustrated with many photographs, stills, production drawings and illustrations by Max Dalton, this book is very informative, not only about the latest Wes Anderson film, but also his method of working, research, sources and filming. A lot can be learned about the world of Wes Anderson by reading this book.

The book is divided into three sections, "The Idea of Europe", "The Snow-Globe Version" and the "At The Algonquin Hotel". Each section begins with an interview of Wes Anderson by Matt Zoller Seitz. The first interview concentrates on the characters and the actors, the second on the making of the film and the third on the sources of the film, in particular the works of author Stefan Zweig. That said, many other subjects also come up in the three interviews. They make for interesting reading.

There are also interviews of Ralph Fiennes, who played Gutave H. the main character in the movie, cinematographer Robert Yeoman, Production Designer Adam Stockhausen, Costume Designer Milena Canonero and several others. Each one of these are interesting to read and we learns more about Anderson's well thought out meticulous style and manner of working.

Interspersed are many photographs from the film as well as reference photographs from other films such as "The Shop Around the Corner", "Amadeus", "The Red Shoes" and many others. There are vignettes of the careers of Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum and other actors. There is a whole section on the role of the narrator in this and other films such as "Barry Lyndon", "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Big Lebowski". There are also some pages of the script, the building of the model of the Hotel, excerpts from the writings of Stefan Zweig and most fascinating to me how certain scenes were shot. In short this is a gold mine of information about the film.

A well written and informative essay by Ali Arikan "Worlds of Yesterday" offers one of the most interesting interpretations of the film I have read, and of its structure and meaning.

The book is well printed and bound as books published by Abrams usually are!

My guess is that you will do what I did when I finished the book and that is to watch the movie again."

Some other useful links

Berton Pierce a film model maker shot this video while working on miniatures for the film.

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