From “Do the Right Thing” to “What Price Hollywood,” here’s how Wes Anderson is using cinema to fill time in his quarantine.
Wes Anderson was expected to attend the Cannes Film Festival this month to world premiere his new movie, “The French Dispatch.” The director last attended Cannes for the world premiere of “Moonrise Kingdom,” which opened the 2012 edition of the festival and remains Anderson’s first and only trip to the Croisette. Anderson took part in The New York Times’ Cannes survey to share a memory about the world’s most prestigious film festival, and in doing so he also dropped an update about how he’s been spending his quarantine.
“I have a 4-year-old daughter so, like so many others in our situation, I am now a part-time amateur schoolteacher,” Anderson said. “Much of what I am reading has to do with ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, insects and the Amazon rainforest. But also: Patricia Highsmith, James Baldwin, Elmore Leonard and a book about plagues.”
Anderson also dropped an 11-film quarantine watch list. The director said he’s been watching a movie each night while sheltering in place and listed nearly a dozen titles that rank as some of his favorites: George Stevens’ “Alice Adams” (1935), John Huston’s “Beat the Devil” (1954), William A. Wellman’s “Nothing Sacred” (1937), Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” (1989), John Ford’s “The Long Voyage Home” (1940), Kenji Mizoguchi’s “A Story From Chikamatsu” (1954), Marco Ferreri’s “La Grande Bouffe” (1973), David Lean’s “The Passionate Friends” (1949), Seth Holt’s “Station Six-Sahara” (1962), George Cukor’s “What Price Hollywood” (1932), and William Richert’s “Winter Kills” (1979).
As for Anderson’s Cannes memory, the director said: “Thierry Frémaux [the festival director] really knows how to throw a film festival. There were good movies of every kind from all over the planet, and what could be better than watching a perfectly restored 251 minutes of “Once Upon a Time in America” on the shores of the Mediterranean?”
Searchlight announced earlier this year it was pushing the release of Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” from July 24 to October 16. Cannes director Thierry Frémaux has been vocal in interviews that “The French Dispatch” was lined up to world premiere at Cannes. The festival is not running in its usual capacity this year, but Cannes will be announcing an official selection in June. Anderson’s latest is expected to be included.