You know that great idea everyone has at sleepovers to watch as many films as you can until the sun comes up, but you end up watching approximately 2 before you fall asleep and start dribbling on the sofa? Well, change the location from your sofa to The Prince Charles Cinema, with a succession of 6 Wes Anderson films and free popcorn if you turn up in a red bobble hat, and you have transformed your flop of a movie marathon into a wonderful Wes Ander-thon.
On Saturday the 9th of November, my boyfriend and I arrived at Leicester Square with a flask of strong tea in hand, prepared for an approximate 12 hours of Wes Anderson films and let me tell you I was not disappointed. From 9pm to about 8:30am we watched Bottle Rocket (1996), Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012).
It was an incredible experience, giving me opportunities to notice things in some of the films I had not noticed before as I paid more attention to the details of Wes. What I found most interesting was watching the films in chronological order, as this meant I could see Anderson’s style emerge and develop throughout each film and really appreciate the evolution of this style that has become so well recognised. I think what I love most about the films is the beautiful simplicity to them, the way that he creates a kind of order to chaos, making it so aesthetically satisfying and giving the films quite a nostalgic feel. They’re easy on the eyes and easy on the heart.
Anderson maintains this continuity of character types throughout his films, and I especially admire the female characters in his films. We become so used to seeing the female character as a damsel in distress, a girl who is looking for someone (usually a male protagonist) to come along and rescue her from the emotional turmoil she is incapable of retrieving herself from. However, I noticed in Anderson’s films, the females are strong characters; usually still in distress but not looking for a hero. For example Jane Winslett-Richardson in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: a fearless adventurer with intelligence levels greater than Steve Zissou, our male protagonist. Not to mention she is heavily pregnant and is not once represented as being less of a character or as being a melodramatic bitch when her hormones make her emotional. Cate Blanchett portrays a strong, intelligent and emotional character who copes well independently and under stressful situations. And I have to talk about Anne-Marie Sakowitz; a character who I think is under-appreciated in this film. Anne-Marie is a script girl, who for most of the film is topless. Her character is smart, sensible and strong; unlike many other girls in films who are shown with revealing costumes. She works out that the expedition involves venturing into unprotected waters and stands up to Steve about this selfish and unsafe decision, but when he refuses to listen to her she warns the rest of the crew who listen to what she has to say. When the ship is attacked by pirates, I think it’s safe to say Anne-Marie was right and has definitely earned an ‘I told you so’.
I came out of the Wes Ander-thon feeling very inspired by the female characters (and tired). They tell me that you can be weird, you can be quiet or you can be loud and you can be fine.
All in all, it was absolutely an experience I would do again and I recommend it (if you have the time to re-structure your sleeping pattern).