Wes Anderson Talks About Roald Dahl’s ‘The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar’, Teases His Next Movie, And Claims: “I Don’t Have An Aesthetic”
18.09.2023 - 14:29
Despite fears for the future of film in the new, seemingly disposable digital era, there are still many auteurs holding on out there in the modern movie landscape. For example, there’s Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and even Michael Bay (for, as director Tarsem said of the latter’s work, “You may not like it, but you know who made it”). But few directors are as instantly recognizable as Wes Anderson. Nothing happens by accident in a Wes Anderson movie: the camera moves are perfectly choreographed — sideways tracking shots are a specialty — and the sets don’t even begin to aim for realism. Clothes are tailored, hair and makeup is scrutinized all the way down to lipstick and nail polish, and music is key, creating a subtle, sometimes melancholy and always wholly effective emotional backdrop.
Even when Anderson branched out into animation, with Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), he took that sensibility with him. But what also came out of that project was an enduring and wholly unexpected connection with the works of British author Roald Dahl, author of joyously anti-authoritarian romps for kids and ominous morality tales for adults. Having forged a link with the Dahl estate, Anderson has since returned to that wellspring of ideas for a series of short, live-action films that show a remarkable degree of synthesis between the director and the author, who died in 1990 aged 74.
The flagship short is The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, the head-spinning story of a wealthy idler (Benedict Cumberbatch) who discovers the story of an Indian mystic who can see with his eyes closed and applies those ideas to gambling. Like The French Dispatch, it’s full of neat camera tricks; doors open into and onto other worlds; in one funny
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