watch a clever video about how wes anderson became wes anderson

‘Rushmore’ is a coming-of-age tale for both Max Fischer and Wes Anderson.

by André-Naquian Wheeler
28 September 2017, 5:42pm

Films like Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel splendidly illustrate Wes Anderson's preoccupation with ornate pastel-colored sets, storybook worlds, and jump cuts. But, as with any artist, it took a while for Wes to grow into his personal aesthetic. And in his second film, Rushmore (1998), he was still playing around with different film devices. The hints of Wes's style are there, visible in the long, sprawling montages, precise visuals, and a whimsical adventure-based plot. A new ten-minute analysis by the video essay YouTube channel ScreenPrism, entitled "Rushmore: Portrait of Wes Anderson as a Young Man," examines how Wes's style has evolved since the game-changing film.

"The film can be read as a coming-of-age tale both for Max and Wes," the video analysis argues, comparing the journey of protagonist Max Fischer figuring himself out as young artist to Wes Anderson figuring himself out as a young director. ScreenPrism calls Rushmore "the most realistic and autobiographical of Anderson's work," featuring a down-to-earth plot about an endearing, dorky high school boy falling for his teacher and learning how to fit in.

It's interesting to see how far Wes has come. His low-budget on-location shooting has metamorphosed into grand, single-hued Hollywood sets. And his preoccupation with the coming of age of social outcasts has only grown.

This realism of Rushmore is partly due to the lower budget up-and-coming Wes was working with. Believing in the young director, Walt Disney Studios beat out New Line Cinema for the rights to the film and gave Wes a budget of $10 million. Which is impressive for a up-and-coming director, but Wes's elaborate visions are costly. For comparison, The Grand Budapest Hotel had a reported budget of $25 million.

But Wes worked with what he had. The video highlights how Wes's typical camera work is all there — intricate mise-en-scènes, balanced wide center framings, a symmetrical aesthetic — but is just not as meticulously neat as in his later films.

More and more video essays dissecting Wes Anderson's directorial work are popping up on the web. Created by super fans, they represent the birth of an online community of Wes Anderson die-hards. The Accidental Wes Anderson Reddit page, which features fans posting pictures of places around the world that could fit the director's candy-hued aesthetic, has hundreds of postings. It's clear: a Wes Anderson subculture is forming.

Click play on the video below and witness the beginning of Wes Anderson's directorial coming of age.

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