Emeric Pressburger

The Royal Tenenbaums Wes Anderson Commentary Track

Wes Anderson loves family dramas dressed as fantasies, and this notion is no less palpable with The Royal Tenenbaums, the film that essentially set him on the map. A lot of us remember finding Bottle Rocket in video stores or trekking out with friends to see Rushmore, but that was mostly because of Bill Murray. The Royal Tenenbaums was the movie that made people realize this voice in the world of independent film making had arrived. 11 years later, and Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom, another light-hearted drama made to look like a fable, is upon us. However, we felt it was time to go back and see exactly what the writer/director had to say about his pinnacle film, The Royal Tenenbaums. There’s sure to be references of French movies and anecdotes about writing with Owen Wilson, but that’s the obvious stuff. We’ve got 28 more items beyond that. So help yourselves with what we learned from the commentary for The Royal Tenenbaums. Cue the Elliott Smith.



In regards to the somewhat subjective idea of influence as it pertains to any given element of cinema the list of filmmakers whose names you’ll hear is, for the most part with a few variables, the same. From the perspective of an outsider/spectator all we can ever truly ascertain about influence is little more than an educated assumption, unless heard straight from the horse’s mouth. One of the variables on a given list of names of influential filmmakers is the partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. That is, unless, you’re talking directly to someone like Martin Scorsese.

A good deal of this is the difference in distinction between remaining part of the cultural conscious and having a fingerprint on modern filmmaking. Whether that fingerprint has been smudged and unrecognizable through dilution over time it’s still felt to those who are familiar. Those like Martin Scorsese, who may be the all-time champion of The Red Shoes having headed the painstaking digital restoration to make the film look as it currently does; which is nothing short of gorgeous. Why would he do that? Because it, along with other Powell films like Peeping Tom (also unlike most films of its time and closely resembling films of ours), mean that much to him as an artist and fan of film; and if he can make you feel the same then he’ll do what he can.



Last week I wrote about the history of the auteur theory and its strengths and weaknesses when applied to actual film practice. Regardless of the theory’s apparent problems, it’s clear that the idea of the auteur still holds great weight in framing the way even the most casual of filmgoer goes about experiencing cinema.

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published: 01.26.2015
B-, C-
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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