This weekend, I re-watched Wes Anderson's most recent film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Our discussion about the art direction of movies made me think of him right away; I think he might be the master of it. Each tiny detail in every shot is clearly hand-picked to create one of the most visually interesting movies I have ever seen. Though I loved the storyline and characters, this could have been a silent film and I would have been just as interested because that's how wonderful it is to look at. From tiny things like hotel keys, to broader things like the overall color palette of certain shots, Anderson masters art direction.
His films are the perfect example of "breaking the rules" in all the right ways. He is not afraid to try weird or unconventional methods to make the picture in his head come to life. Who says you have to find a pre-existing location to serve as the fictional hotel you've dreamt up? Why not instead create your own hand-made miniature model of it and use that for wide shots? He finds a new and more interesting way to bring us into this imaginary world and clearly does not let any limits stifle his creativity. Watching this movie reminded me how much more interesting it is push the boundaries of conventional thinking. When you go see a movie, the cinematography may be great, but it usually doesn't stick with you. This stuck with me. And that's the ultimate goal with advertising, is to communicate a message to people in a way that sticks with them. When you create something as interesting as this movie, people can't help but take notice because it is so different from the norm. It motivated me to pay attention to the little details that most people might miss, but that are crucial to creating a visual experience. Those details are worth the time.
Here are a couple more scenes from the film that inspired me. From interesting camera angles, to intricate set design, this is definitely a film I will come back to when inspiration runs dry to remind me of the power and beauty of art direction.