wes anderson characters on wes anderson

by benbieri

Lights up on a pastel pink storefront, picturesque in its startling uniformity and symmetry; it is as if it has been plucked straight from the toyboxes of yesteryear. As the camera rolls slowly forward, the front wall cracks and slides away, offering up the dolls cast around the inside. After a prolonged establishing shot, demonstrative of the brewing conflict of our central cast, we swiftly cut to 5 lingering shots of their faces dead center.

One, a short and beautiful woman, who, for reasons unexplained, must be utterly nonfeminine, whose glower takes up the whole screen. She commands respect without asking for approval, as the director intends (or, perhaps, intends for us to presume such intent?)

Two, an equally short and stout man, bespectacled and mustachioed, whose demeanor suggests a façade of loftiness, but whose eyes have the crinkle of laughter and the flightiness of vulnerabilities yet unknown.

Third, a twee young man, who, were it not for the large bottle-cap glasses and plastic nose, would look strikingly similar to the actor now famous for playing Paul Atreides in Dune.

Fourth, another woman, tired but not world-weary, brimming with a quiet joy that comes without reservation, and a manner which demonstrates her knowledge and wisdom. She clearly knows more, much more, than her opponents in the upcoming battle of wits.

Finally, a small celebrity cameo, the typical type, wearing what can only be described as a strange evocation of a fantasy, an amalgamation of period pieces, an idea or dream of something that could never have been yet slots so perfectly into the archetype of the culture of whatever land this café squats so comfortably in.

Once these shots are finished, and the second round of quicker, more uncertain shots have been achieved as well, the calls for action which has yet to elapse, the nervous exchanges of glances and glares between patrons, the first blow is struck:

“Frankly,” the bespectacled man boasts, “Frankly, it was his most marvelous piece yet. I have seen it 7 times so far, and expect to see it at least 4, possibly 4 and a half, more times. So that I can fully understand his choices, the vision, the overarching dream of it all.” He begins to grin, in a way that is not without sincerity, but certainly contains mirth.

That is, until, the shot of the younger woman’s spit directly on his shoe. “Bah! He barely knows how to handle any of the characters that aren’t Owen Wilson, or the other members of his sex. Why is it that I must be a representation of some strange perversion, just like every other young girl in his films? If he had a point to make, can’t he make it already?”

The other woman nods slowly, “The prevailing theory is that our dear friend upstairs (henceforth referred to as the D.F.U,) must depict us all with some sense of whimsy, and to view the world as it is through that lens involves reducing some of who we are to caricature, to something more than objects but only granted the life of nuance through momentary vulnerable asides, demonstrative of life only loved when we stop performing. It is foolish to believe that this new production is anything but this, moments in time, fragments of people, stretched to loom large on the screen, and those bodies, those people, are offered up as images, but, much like the tongue in cheek of our D.F.U., can sometimes sneak out a phrase or a tear, or a smile, when we thought they would do the complete opposite.”

The Owen Wilson (or is it Adrien Brody?) type shakes their head, but chuckles. Sagely, they respond: “If I could, I would slap one of you upside the head. I might even kiss you.” Ultimately, that’s their role for this production, and they amble away down a boulevard in the very next shot.

Finally, we land on our poorly disguised star. “Did you at least like my nude scene?” The final shot is upon his profile, as he stares backwards hopefully.

Categories: ben bieri, nov 23, review, vol 25

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