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Knowing Nods: Wes Anderson’s Approach to Cinematic Resonance

“I always wished I was an orphan. Most of my favorite characters are.”
Moonrise Kingdom Influences
By  · Published on August 25th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay on the films that influenced Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.


Nothing is created in a vacuum, with the possible exception of giant, matted balls of dust.

All jokes aside, with very few exceptions, there is no such thing as creative objectivity. Some directors may have broader or deeper film familiarity than others, but if you are the kind of person who wants to make movies, then chances are you have been steeped in some kind of cinematic soup.

This isn’t so much a “good” or “bad” thing as it is a reality of cultural consciousness. We are inextricably influenced by our predecessors. And there is nothing “wrong” with wanting to be intentional and cite your sources, weave resonance, or enter into a conversation with another work of art.

There is a tendency to associate homage, particularly the distracting kind, with laziness or plagiarism. That’s an astute complaint. If a movie leans so heavily on easter eggs, knowing winks, and pop culture references that it detracts from its own storytelling, that’s a problem. Duh.

And like all subtleties, good homage isn’t easy to pull off. But if you’re looking for a reliable example of a filmmaker with a reverential and gracious approach to reference and homage, look no further than the King of the Composition himself: Wes Anderson.

Focusing on the influences of Moonrise Kingdom, the following video essay argues that Wes Anderson’s approach to cinematic resonance rewards rather than punishes, honoring the source material, and creating a deeper experience for those in the wise. So if you’re going to “steal” (read: nod, gesture, point), then “steal” like Wes.

Watch “The Movies That Shaped Moonrise Kingdom”:

Who made this?

This video essay on Moonrise Kingdom influences is by Virginia-based filmmaker and video editor Thomas Flight. He runs a YouTube channel under the same name. You can follow Thomas Flight and check out his back catalog of video essays on YouTube here. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).