Castello Cavalcanti (2013) dir. Wes Anderson
Probably don’t need to label the director here as the header image of a center-frame Jason Schwartzman on a brightly-rendered period set is enough to confirm we’re looking through Wes Anderson’s lens. This has been something of the Year of the Wes, with his latest feature Asteroid City coming out in theaters over the summer and Netflix debuting a series of short Roald Dahl adaptations, including one of the year’s best films in “The Swan.” Anderson’s style has grown more distinctive over the years and his high polish naturally would attract advertising agencies, and Anderson has done little to compromise his style when creating spots for American Express, AT&T, Hyundai and others.
Prada is the sponsor here, mostly staying out of the way and letting the association with Anderson’s attention to detail and bold taste do the endorsing. This is also Anderson’s only collaboration with cinematographer Darius Khondji to date (usual DP Robert Yeoman must have been busy filming The Heat) and it’s a fruitful one, with the usual Anderson deadpan blocking and camera movements balancing Khodji’s deeper shadows and surfaces. Every frame feels like a heavy, old-fashioned toy.
In addition to his visual proclivities, Anderson fits his usual themes. There’s discovered family, a recurring motif, and characters dealing with disappointment. Dealing with it with deadpan humor, of course. Even the wrecked car looks jaunty.