Wes Anderson’s highly anticipated “The French Dispatch” just premiered at Cannes and there is already tons of buzz around the starry production. Searchlight Pictures also recently released a clip of the film to continue the hype surrounding it, especially as reviews come soaring in from all around the world. Originally scheduled to premiere at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Anderson fans will be thrilled to hear that the movie so far has received his usual high marks for style and casting.
“The French Dispatch” has been described as Anderson’s “love letter to journalism” which follows three stories in 20th century France. One story focuses on the May 68’ student protests and another on a feature story about an art dealer. Although this film has the potential to make it to the Oscars for its story alone, its main attraction is it’s star-studded cast which includes Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray and Timothée Chalamet to name a few.
The decision to keep the movie on hold for a year from its original premiere slot after the cancellation of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival was smart, not to mention it makes perfect sense given the film’s playful celebration of all things French, not least of them French cinema. It speaks to literary magazines such as “The New Yorker” and to the writers, humorists and illustrators of those respective magazines, as well.
What we know so far is that part of the film is shot in black and white, as the new teaser trailer shows a scene in black and white between Frances McDormand’s character and Timothee Chalamet’s character, which is a strange choice for a director like Anderson who is often praised for his strategic use of pastels. McDormand plays Lucinda Krementz, a journalist who is profiling the student revolutionaries, and Chalamet plays Zeffirelli, a student revolutionary. In the clip that was released, McDormand is sad and starts to clean up the bathroom only to discover Chalamet taking a bath. He asks her to review his manifesto, which is naturally riddled with typos and is unbecoming to criticism. Anderson’s beautiful symmetry in his shots is on display here as well as his usual concoction of humor and earnestness that makes his storytelling so unique.
Most reviews of “The French Dispatch” have been overwhelmingly positive, citing Anderson’s visual style and the wonderful performances. However, there are a couple of critiques. The most common ones being that the narrative is too bland and that the story is slightly unengaging. Regardless, it’s sure to please hardcore Anderson fans and also fans of movies with celebrity A-list casts. That being said, if audiences are not satisfied with this particular film of his, they will be glad to know that Anderson is already working on his next project, which is set to film in Spain later this year. It appears that Anderson will once again work with Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray, although the details of the film itself have not yet been released to the public. What is known is that Fox Searchlight will distribute the film and it will most likely premiere sometime in 2022.
“The French Dispatch” will be theatrically released on Oct. 22, 2021.
By Jimmy Meyer