Grand Budapest Hotel
Of the filmmakers working today, Wes Anderson is certainly one of the more unconventional and visual of the bunch. His films depict bizarre, brightly coloured parallel worlds that become more detailed and eccentric each time. In his latest film, ...
Of the filmmakers working today, Wes Anderson is certainly one of the more unconventional and visual of the bunch. His films depict bizarre, brightly coloured parallel worlds that become more detailed and eccentric each time; and they are often set in sealed off places of yearning: on the open water in THE LIFE AQUATIC, on an Indian train in THE DARJEELING LIMITED or in a summer camp in MOONRISE KINGDOM. In his latest film, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Anderson presents his version of old Europe that is as ornate, carefully handmade and full of mechanical surprises as a Swiss cuckoo clock, and as pink and sugary as the pastries that constantly cross the camera’s lens. The story begins in the present with a young girl reading a book by an unknown author and his trip to the GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL in the 1960s. There the author meets the hotel’s legendary owner Zero Moustafa who one evening recounts a story that took place in the 1930s. The varied levels of narration, unfolding much like a Russian matryoshka doll, evoke a dizzying nostalgia for a world that never really existed.
The film centres on these events that took place in the 1930s. A whiff of the Belle Époque lingers in the air and the barbarity of the Nazi period appears ominously on the horizon. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a pink monstrosity located in a fictional Central European state called Zubrowka. In the 1930s Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori as a poor immigrant who sports a daily painted on moustache) is a lobby boy working under the wing of the legendary concierge Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes with a penchant for cologne and elderly ladies). A lucky chain of events –several murders, a baker, a stolen painting, Nazi henchmen, a prison break, and countless wild chases – lead to Zero first becoming M. Gustave’s right-hand man and ultimately to his taking over of the hotel.
The outrageous plot elicits a cascade of visual gags that could compete with the shenanigans of Jacques Tati but also take its influences from the silent film comedies such as Keystone Cops. Anderson’s homage to the use of humour and aesthetic of earlier film generations also applies to the film format he uses: all the scenes from the 1930s are shot in the format used at that time, the scenes from the 1960s with a cinemascope, and the scenes from the present with the widely used widescreen format.
Some love Wes Anderson’s decorative style and enthusiasm for detail, his rhythm, colours and parallel tracking shots, but others find it obsessive and too far removed from reality. Anderson’s films are becoming less and less the place for moviegoers looking for real-life characters and a touching story. Rather, his films tend to be expressions of an emotion or feeling, a kind of nostalgic longing for family (DARLJEELING LIMITED), love (MOONRISE KINGDOM) or civilisation (GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL) that are reminiscent of Wong Kar-Wai’s films that portray characters yearning for romance. Anderson’s parallel worlds are colourful, funny, and well arranged because they are not the real world and never will be.
Translation: Carla McDougall
GB/D 2014, 100 min
Genre: Drama, Crime Comedy
Director: Wes Anderson
Author: Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes
- OV Original version
- OmU Original with German subtitles
- OmeU Original with English subtitles
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