After months of postponement, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch has finally been released. The film, which boasts a truly exceptional cast, also presents all the characteristics that have brought the American director to where he is now and made his work among the most recognisable in the field of cinema.
In practice, even without knowing that a film or a short film is by Wes Anderson, it is enough to watch it to understand it. If you don’t believe us, we went digging through his filmography and dug out the commercials he directed, a real treat for the eyes. You don’t have to go to the credits to see that his signature is behind it.
American Express: My Life. My Card. (2006)
Wes Anderson’s debut in the world of advertising came at the age of 36 and the director decided to put his face to it. In every sense of the word. The protagonist of the commercial is in fact Wes himself, filmed on the set of a film where the characters include Jason Schwartzman (who to date has worked 9 times with the American director).
The most passionate fans will already recognize the use of the sideways tracking shot, one of the most frequent camera movements in his films.
SoftBank Commercial (2008)
Brad Pitt is the protagonist of this 30-second short film which – probably due to the limits imposed by its length – is characterised by fast and dynamic movements, almost as if someone had pressed the “fast forward” button.
Stella Artois Le Apartomatic Commercial (2010)
Co-directed with Roman Coppola, the commercial for Belgian beer Stella Artois focuses on a set design reproducing a 1960s-style living room that moves, breaks down and recomposes mechanically, like those we see in the theatre and in many of Wes Anderson’s works.
Prada: Candy (2013)
The Anderson-Coppola copy was recalled a few years later by Prada for the Candy eau de parfum commercial. This commercial was the first time the director worked with French actress Léa Seydoux, with whom he would return for Grand Budapest Hotel and the more recent The French Dispatch.
Prada: Castello Cavalcanti (2013)
That same year, Wes continued his collaboration with Prada, directing an 8-minute short film set in a small Italian village (complete with old people sitting around a table playing cards and a restaurant serving spaghetti at all hours of the night) and featuring Jason Schwartzman.
H&M – Come Together: A Fashion Picture in Motion (2016)
The director’s last work in advertising was in 2016 for the H&M Christmas commercial. Twenty-two years after his first film, this 4-minute video contains all the stylistic characteristics for which Wes Anderson is internationally recognised: side and frontal tracking shots, symmetrical image construction, pastel colours and a retro style. Of course, Adrien Brody driving the train to an unconventional Christmas does not go unnoticed.