Images courtesy of Searchlight Pictures
The importance of being Wes Anderson, is that every couple of years, his imagination pops out another opportunity to escape our increasingly worrying reality into somewhere magically surreal and not necessarily bound by quotidian logic. In the last four years alone, he took us from The Grand Budapest Hotel to the Isle of Dogs and back.
And now comes the intriguing first trailer for his latest, The French Dispatch, which is essentially a love letter to old fashioned journalism (all of his films are a love letter to old fashioned something or other). As expected, he’s assembled some of the usual acting suspects (Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson), and teamed them up with some future usual acting suspects (Timothee Chalamet, Elisabeth Moss, Benicio Del Toro, Lea Seydoux).
McDormand’s narrator opens the trailer by explaining, “Eager to escape a bright future on the Great Plains, Arthur Howitzer Jr. transformed a series of travelogue columns into The French Dispatch, a factual weekly report on the subjects of world politics, the arts high and low, and diverse stories of human interest.”
Murray is Howitzer, the snarky, hard-bitten newsman, and the film has no particular plot—but is instead a trio of the paper’s best stories from the past decade, a kind of anthology of heroic kookiness. Naturally, it is surreally filmed in Angouleme, a city in France near Bordeaux that hardly anyone knows even exists—and, of course, it’s hard to really tell exactly what era it is. Because, well, that would kind of ruin it anyway.
Best line: Howitzer to Moss’ reporter: “Just try to make it sound like you wrote it that way on purpose.”
The French Dispatch will arrive in theaters via Searchlight Pictures on July 24, surely the height of the election insanity…when escapism will be at its most urgent and exigent. Merci, Mssr. Anderson.