martedì 25 febbraio 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Last week I was invited (by Wes Anderson himself!) to the Paris avant-première of his latest movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel. What a joy!!! Especially when, arriving at the Gaumont Opéra Capucines, I realized there was also the main actor of the film: the amazing Ralph Fiennes (one of my favourite actors of all time). Anderson, together with Fiennes and French actor Mathieu Amalric, introduced the movie in a very cute way. I had the feeling everybody had fun: while filming and also now, in front of the audience. In any case, I like festive atmospheres:
The Gaumont Opéra Capucines "Grand Budapest Hotel" version
Photo Call: Wes Anderson and Ralph Fiennes
Photo Call: Ralph Fiennes
The film introduction: Wes Anderson and Mathieu Amalric
The film introduction: Anderson, Amalric and Ralph Fiennes
Set in a fictional Eastern European country called Zubrowka, The Grand Budapest Hotel relates the story of this grandiose hotel from the splendor of the ‘30s, through the tough time of  the World War II until the complete decadence of the ‘60s. The person who tells this story is Zero Moustafa, once a simple lobby boy, and now, through a series of incredible circumstances, owner of the entire place. Zero found a job at the Grand Budapest Hotel at the moment of its highlight, when the concierge was the amazing Monsieur Gustave. It is following M. Gustave in his unbelievable adventures (which include a heritage, a greedy and pitiless family, a famous painting, an escape from prison etc. etc.) that Zero learns everything he knows: he will receive an extraordinary education, he will be confronted to many things and he will even find the true love of his life. Who else can ask for more?
Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) and M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes)
I have to make a confession: even if I am a huge Wes Anderson’s fan, I “didn’t get” a couple of his pictures. One is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which I found profoundly boring; the other one is Moonrise Kingdom, which I found perfect but a bit heartless, like a mere exercice de style
That film had a cupcake effect on me: beautiful to watch but then too creamy to be easily digested. For the first time in my life, I agreed with the detractors of Anderson cinema: that movie was flawless but it was going nowhere. 
This is why I was quite worried to see this new one: will Wes Anderson go somewhere now? 
Of course, we pretend more from people we know can give us more. It’s in the scheme of things. 
So, it is with great pleasure and relief that I announce you to have adored The Grand Budapest Hotel!
This movie is Anderson at his best: witty, intelligent, ironic, romantic, melancholic and superbly made. With a plus: one of the most wonderful characters I have ever seen on screen, Monsieur Gustave. In fact, I was hooked into the story the very first moment he appears...

Simply irresistible: Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave
A miracle like M. Gustave can only be created by two essential factors: a superb writing and a superb acting. And this is exactly the case: M. Gustave dialogues are a constant delight and the way Ralph Fiennes recite them is absolutely astonishing. Some of Anderson favourite film-makers (the usual suspects Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder), are a major influence here: the speed of M. Gustave’s phrasing, his gentleman manners combined with some unconventional behaviours ("I go to bed with all my friends, darling!"), and the atmosphere he is able to create all around, make him a perfect screwball comedy hero! 
Anderson has assembled for this movie THE MOST amazing cast. Besides Fiennes, in this adventure you’ll find involved: Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Wilkinson, F. Murray Abraham, Owen Wilson, Léa Seydoux, Mathieu Amalric and the super cute new comer Tony Revolori as Zero. Very difficult to do better than this, guys!
But what it is grand about this Grand Budapest Hotel is the world Anderson is able to create: the hotel as a microcosm where the macrocosm of the outside life changes the set, the colours, the furniture, the entire atmosphere. The signs of time, the melancholy pervading places and people, an old world collapsing under the fury of a war and then succumbing to the grey reality of modernity. The awareness of a missing feeling: no more M. Gustave, no more charme, no more class, no more Mendl’s patisserie, no more female guests enchanted by the smell of his favourite perfume, L’Air de Panache.
After the movie ends, the memories of the things you have laughed about are strangely and firmly mixed with the ones you are very sad about (this is probably what we can call the “Anderson touch”).

Welcome, dear readers, to the most elegant hotel in the world...

In case you have missed it, here's the scrumptious short movie Anderson recently directed for Prada, CASTELLO CAVALCANTI:

And, last but not least, here's the lovely song the Italian band I CANI dedicated to the film-maker, simply called WES ANDERSON:

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