Even if you aren’t a hardcore movie buff, there are some creators with such a distinct style that it can be recognised instantly. Wes Anderson is one such creator, and his eccentric, quirky cinematography is a genre of its own.
The American filmmaker has made a name for himself in Hollywood for an unmatched sense of cinematic style and storytelling – with films like Rushmore, Fantastic Mr Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and more, all it really takes is one random still from the movie and you’d know right away that its a Wes Anderson classic, even if you haven’t really watched the film.
In what is one of the better things to come out of social media trends, people are romanticizing ordinary activities by recording and editing them into videos that try to imitate the filmmaker’s style, characterized by symmetry, distinctive colour palettes and a bit of quirkiness. It’s truly wholesome to see, as even non-filmmakers are indulging in the trend in what I believe is an excellent homage to the director’s unique style.
Creator Ava Williams claims to have started the trend, who had just returned to New York after visiting her parents and wanted to memorialize the train ride back in a meaningful way. As she’d just watched The French Dispatch with her family the night before, Williams decided to capture her moody return home in the dreamy, pastel-rich style, she told Newsweek.
But as talented as Anderson is, he is certainly not perfect. Over the years, the director has received criticism for a severe lack of racial diversity in his films. All his films centre around white male protagonists (although one could argue that his films are a reflection of his perspective as a white male) and there are very few POC characters, mostly never in substantial roles. If you look past all the aesthetic shots and the quirky soundtracks – there are a lot of repetitive elements that other directors often receive flak for. Perhaps this Honest Trailers video sums up his weaknesses way better than I would, and it’s hilariously well-made.
That Wes Anderson trend on the clock app is the closest we’ll come to having Black ppl in his films and I’m more than ok with that. Cause every one I’ve been seeing is chefs kiss.
— Mira Hillman (@heeeymira) April 23, 2023
This delightful Anderson-inspired trend, on the other hand, is giving us a new perspective on his films as more and more POC creators partake in it. Although, unlike what his most passionate defenders point out, nobody is ‘cancelling’ Anderson. People can be critical of a talented artist without completely dismissing their art, in some cases. While elevating POC filmmakers is equally important, it’s not unwarranted for fans to expect more from their favourite artists. Anderson’s films have provided a sense of comfort and nostalgia for decades – inspiring dozens of filmmakers along the way. Many are still hopeful that Anderson’s future ventures will ensure more representation, but his upcoming film ‘Asteroid City’ unfortunately doesn’t look any different. Until then, watching young social media creators discover their filmmaking potential through this trend has truly been one of the more wholesome parts of everyone’s day.
This TikTok is the Wes Anderson film starring people of color that everyone has been asking for and I need the full feature ASAP pic.twitter.com/KEhURTLjVy
— Zoë Rose Bryant (@ZoeRoseBryant) April 22, 2023
The trend has also attracted criticism of course, mostly from gatekeeping Anderson’s admirers who think he’s the pinnacle of filmmaking (his distinctive style, objectively, doesn’t make him the best). Most of the criticism stems from creators partaking in this trend not using the “correct font” or “asymmetrical shots”. There’s irony in this criticism, as Anderson himself has paved the way for offbeat filmmakers wanting to explore their personal style, instead of conforming to a singular ideal.
Anderson’s cinematic style is truly his own- and respectfully, nobody can recreate it perfectly, and nobody should. Seeing so many non-filmmakers indulge in this trend has made me realise that this trend isn’t about the technicalities of filmmaking at all – it’s about the art of storytelling. It doesn’t matter if you use a slightly different font or if one of your shots is asymmetrical. The real charm of Anderson’s movies is his eye for beauty in the most mundane moments of life, which is what this trend highlights.