Garfield Senior High School

Wes Anderson: The man behind the lens

“I think we’re just gonna have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that,” says Margot in “The Royal Tenenbaums,” the second film directed by Wes Anderson.

Anderson has directed various breathtaking movies throughout his career, but does so in the most detailed, clever way. Anderson is especially known for his wonderful work with color and symmetry.

After attending public school at Westchester High School, Anderson moved to a private prep school which would later act as his inspiration for his second film, “Rushmore.” Anderson then attended the University of Texas at Austin where he majored in philosophy. He would later find himself filming with Owen Wilson, a college roommate. Alongside Wilson, Anderson began exploring his interest in movies by creating short films.

But Anderson has the ability to cleverly structure his movies simply by color. The colors selected by Anderson have a psychological effect on the audience. As one adapts to color signals, the viewer’s eyes are vulnerable to different colorations, highlighting the focus of the scene. Ultimately, the way humans perceive an environment is influenced. For example, take the color red. What do you think of when you see the color yellow? Sun, happiness? Depending on how the color is presented, it is easy to get lost in a world that already seems familiar.

Repetition of color creates a mental bias, thus making it easier to compare the scene to a society that the viewer will connect to. One of my favorite scenes Anderson has put together doing this is in “Moonrise Kingdom.” The film is based on two kids who run away together, to be with one another. When the girl’s father finds them in relaxing on the beach in a yellow tent, he raises the tent over them, as if he took their happiness.

Symmetry is also a characteristic that Anderson films are known for. In many of Anderson’s films, you can almost always find shots with perfect symmetry. Whether this be a character or an object, you will usually find the screen sliced right down the middle.

Though film schools push future directors to avoid symmetry for the sake of avoiding a stage-like unrealistic effect, Anderson has chosen to adopt this trait. Whether it is lightning shooting from the air, or a person painting, it is easy to establish what the focus may be.

Symmetry differentiates Anderson’s movies from others. In “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” a scene towards the end of the film shows Mr. Fox pointing at a black wolf. The wolf and the finger of Mr. Fox are right at split screen, emphasizing the focus in the scenery. Earlier in the film, Mr. Fox states that he is not scared of wolves, rather he just has a phobia of them. The scene is brilliantly shot, with Fox’s finger seemingly just a few inches away from the far wolf.

Anderson has won numerous awards for his screenplays. The director also says that he cannot complain about any of the films he has made, for they are everything he imagined them to be, says IMDB. “Isle of Dogs” is the next upcoming film by this talented director, set to come out in 2018. This stop-motion film is set in Japan, where a young boy searches for his dog. The twist however, is that all dogs have been banned and sent to an island made of garbage. If you’re into good unusual films, keep your eye out for that!