Wes Anderson-Inspired Reads

Now I know it’s odd to say, but the first half of the year I class as my ‘Wes Anderson time’. It sounds odd but from January until around the end of May is a time when the weather in England is unpredictable (when isn’t it) I like to dive into new but familiar territory. Having usually just listened to the same Christmas tunes year in, year out, when January rolls around I like to revisit and become reacquainted with familiar things like my favourite films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel whilst also delving into newer territory. This for me means sticking with the thing I love but in other formats. I did this recently with Schitt’s Creek by reading the book Best Wishes, Warmest Regards; so it felt only natural to try it with The Grand Budapest Hotel too.

Now I must admit, this is my favourite film by Wes Anderson so I do clutch onto it big time but I am really trying to verse myself in the rest of his works too and I do still have a ways to go. In the mean time though, it doesn’t hurt to take comfort in books that are a bit ‘Wes Anderson‘ too.

The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Matt Zoller Seitz & Anne Washburn

I won’t go too into this book as I did only recently write a whole, rambling post about it; so instead here’s the link to that here. What I will say though, this book is beautiful. It’s a behind the scenes look at all things The Grand Budapest Hotel and goes into such depth discussing the process of making the film. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves Anderson, the film or even anyone with an interest in storytelling or movie-making.

The Society of Crossed Keys: Selections from the Writings of Stefan Zweig, Inspirations for The Grand Budapest Hotel, by Stefan Zweig, Wes Anderson & Anthea Bell

This little pink book is a compilation by Anderson showing his appreciation of Zweig’s work and showcasing his favourite pieces by him. It includes a conversation with Anderson talking about how Zweig’s work inspired him; and you can definitely read certain details in the pieces themselves which really spoke or inspired certain elements. It includes Zweig’s last work ‘The World of Yesterday’ which is nostalgic in its details of a bygone Europe. All of the pieces in this collection are deeply philosophical and thought-provoking in there musings. I wouldn’t say it’s a light read but if you have the time and the patience, I think it’s worth a read.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Screenplay), Wes Anderson

This is what it says on the tin – screenplay of the film. One of my favourite things about The Grand Budapest Hotel is the writing. I think I’ve said it before but the writing has such a musicality to it that I absolutely love so this is such a great read for me. While the plot is inspired by the workings of Stefan Zweig and the film displays a bygone era of sophistication through its visuals, the writing and characters are still so wonderfully portrayed through simply reading the screenplay. It helps that the film is sectioned into parts like ‘Part 1: M. Gustave‘, like it was purposely made to be read. While I do love this book, I do wonder if someone could enjoy it without never watching the film.

Accidentally Wes Anderson, Wally Koval

This book was actually a birthday gift that I welcomed with open-arms, and squealing slightly. It’s beyond beautiful and is absolutely flawless in its curation. This book is somewhat a coffee-table book with the majority of it being full of vibrant photography. It’s a bit of a photo project with the composer Koval being sent these photos from all over the globe from individuals who also recognise and appreciate how settings so common place can be accidentally Wes Anderson. Koval then compiles written excerpts to accompany the photography which I found so fascinating. He included the history of some of the along with little, personal anecdotes which was lovely. It truly is the perfect book for escapism!

This book is very much the aesthetic of Anderson with the photography all checking those necessities for symmetrical lines, tiny but quirky places and pastel tones contrasted by bright blue skies. There’s definitely a mix of polished places and then the shabbier, more run down spots but all tie together under that umbrella of whimsical charm. Although, I will say some photos can feel a little eerie and ghost-town like with their lack of humanity in the shots.

The book is laid out by the photographed places area in the world, with each section beginning with a numbered map. Some of the places are more historical with the written sections appreciating their history while others are more dry and just outright comical in their commentary of the place. All of the places within are somewhat off the beaten track which is something I really love. While I think an Anderson fan would love this book, I think anyone with an interest in photography or architecture, or even just someone who enjoys flicking through a good book with beautiful, crisp photography shots and great colour palettes, would love this book. It’s a welcomed and well-loved addition to my home library.

What is something you like to revisit in new ways? Let me know.

Cheerio for now!

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Matt Zoller Seitz

This post is about the book, which is all about the film and how it was made so there will be spoilers ahead! …also, as the natural-born overwriter that I am, I do go on a tangent about the film and why I absolutely love it. You have been warned.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is quite honestly one of my favourite films of all time. It’s the perfect tale within a tale within a tale; with multiple layers to its storytelling which make it such a rich film. There’s so many reasons why it’s such an amazing film, and they differ so much depending on who you ask. For some it’s that iconic pink hotel front and the funicular, the exquisite Mendl’s pastries, that pristine purple uniform that cuts such a dashing silhouette, or even that dresser-top fully stocked with L’air Panache (and how effortlessly that rolls off ones tongue). For others, it’s the darker elements of the film. The chase scenes with Jopling as dramatic music pounds in the background, his skull-shaped knuckle-dusters, the prison scenes and a seemingly never-ending rope ladder; not to mention, a head in a delivery box, a dead cat in a hessian sack, and four-missing fingers. While I love all the above, The Grand Budapest is my favourite for other reasons.

The writing is amazing. There’s a familiarity to the language and a warmth that’s unparalleled for me. It has a musicality to it that just gives me all the warm and fuzzy feels, and are just so unforgettable. I think the way that the writing has been performed also has a big hand in why I love it so much. The quick-fire way that it is reeled off, especially from characters like M. Gustave; so poetic and thoughtful yet sometimes steers into sounding more like a ranting sailor than his usual gentleman-fashion.

I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it… but, I will say: he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvellous grace!

Mr Moustafa

If you look further than the facade of the aesthetically-pleasing colour schemes and whimsically, fantastic characters, you realise the events at face-value are quite dire but there’s much more blood and gore involved. My boyfriend is a movie-lover and often mentions the films his dad introduced him to, and what ones he will one day introduce our kids too. It was only when I thought about this myself that I realised this film, while wonderfully colourful and somewhat comedic in areas, it’s actually probably a bit too much for a child to watch.

Now to the book…

This book is almost a window into how this masterpiece film was made. It’s a behind the scenes look with conversations with everyone varying from Anderson himself, to the actors, set designers, cinematographers, costume design, the film’s composer, and so many others. It also includes stunning photography, personal accounts and funny anecdotes as well as some amazing illustration and artwork.

I absolutely love the detailed costumes and vibrant colours, mixed with laid out backdrops in a perfect, symmetrical fashion. Anyone who knows Andersons work knows he’s so visually precise and meticulous with his cinematography. The film has different stages to it, all with frame changes depending on where or what era that portion of the film is set in which is something I think you enjoy and notice more when rewatching it. Each time I watch it I notice something else I missed before so reading about the cinematography and the decisions concerning all the camera work was really interesting for me.

This book is a must for every Wes Anderson aficionado! It contains so much insight when it came to not only the inspiration and sources for the story itself but also the process of storytelling, art and film-making too. It truly discusses every single element of the film and the inner-workings of making something great.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Cheerio for now!

((I must apologise for rambling on for soo damn long, but if you couldn’t tell-I bloody love this film! It is and probably will remain one of my absolute favourites forever!))