The French Dispatch: Wes Anderson's Ode to The New Yorker

The latest film from American auteur Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch, has been described as a ‘love letter to journalists’. Anderson once again brings together a cast of ensemble stars of Hollywood and beyond, including Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson in a charming yarn about American journalists writing for a newspaper at a French outpost called Ennui-sur-Blasé (translated as Boredom-on-Blasé). The film is inspired by Anderson’s own love of The New Yorker magazine, with several characters and events in the film based on real-life equivalents. The film’s story brings to life a collection of tales, each one published in the paper titled, The French Dispatch

With Wes Anderson currently living in Paris, it’s little surprise that he turned his attention to his new home, with the fictional grand city at the heart of the film being as stereotypically French as its name implies. A chronicle of a magazine between 1950 to 1970, the story takes place as The French Dispatch releases its latest issue, with its separate segments each reflecting an individual article. While the stories touch upon serious and complex subject matter, including social unrest, racism, and organised crime, Anderson’s touch remains light and accessible. The film is split into distinct segments with overarching themes helping to tie the film together.

Those familiar with the films of Wes Anderson will recognise much of his signature style in The French Dispatch: balanced compositions, snap-zooms and hand-made miniatures feature throughout, in a look similar to his earlier work like Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). The French Dispatch is a funny, whimsical character-driven caper with an emphasis on zany, oddball personalities across three distinct stories. The film first went into production in 2018 and was due to premiere at Cannes Film Festival in 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID 19 restrictions, the film’s release at the festival was delayed several times until it finally screened earlier this summer to positive reviews.  The French Dispatch recently showed as part of the touring programme for the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival in partnership with American Express, with a single sold-out screening at the Showroom earlier this month. After a long wait, we’re excited to finally be able to show the latest whimsical and charming film from one of America’s most unique and recognisable working filmmakers. 

The French Dispatch is screening from Friday 22 October. Tickets are on sale now.

This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursday 21 October 2021.


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