Wes Anderson Shares His Quarantine Movie List So You Can Stay Cultured
There are films that come out to relatively little excitement and acclaim, and then there are the films that fans follow through their gestation. From the cast reveal through to the behind-the-scenes footage and premiere, these films stand out on the calendar like a public holiday for the office worker, so anticipated are their release. And for celebrated director Wes Anderson, every film is one worth looking forward to. Anderson’s films, and the characters he creates, have become some of the most iconic in pop culture. Naturally then, 2020 was going to be the year of his latest film, The French Dispatch, until COVID-19 came and stole its thunder.
The highly anticipated The French Dispatch was scheduled to debut at the 73rd Cannes Film Festival. Starring Timothee Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray and countless others, the premiere was one fans around the world were looking forward to until the coronavirus meant the festival would be cancelled. But given that such times (living through a worldwide pandemic) are so unprecedented, The New York Times conducted a Cannes survey, asking filmmakers to share a memory about Cannes and their thoughts on the future of the cinema. Filmmakers like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Clint Eastwood took part in the survey, while Wes Anderson also divulged his own memories of Cannes.
While Anderson revealed his experience of Cannes (“what could be better than watching a perfectly restored 251 minutes Once Upon A Time in America” on the shores of the Mediterranean?), he also told the publication about the films he and his four-year-old daughter are watching during quarantine. “We watch a movie every night,” said Anderson, before going on to reveal his top picks.
We’ll be honest: we hadn’t heard, or seen, pretty much every film on Anderson’s list. So, in a bid to get more cultured, here are the director’s top picks that we should all be watching during quarantine.
Alice Adams (1935)
Starring Katharine Hepburn, the golden girl of the screen during her time, the film follows Adams as she attempts to appear upper-class and wed a wealthy man. The reality is that she's from a financially struggling family, making the film a romantic commentary on social class and societal structure.
Beat The Devil (1953)
The adventure comedy stars Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones. When international crooks get stranded in Italy alongside an English couple, trouble (and hilarity) ensues.
Nothing Sacred (1937)
The film follows Wally Cook, a hotshot reporter condemned to writing obituaries. In an attempt to get back in the good graces of his editor, Cook chases a story about a New England girl called Hazel Flagg, who is reportedly dying from radiation poisoning.
Do The Right Thing (1989)
Considered a masterpiece from the legend Spike Lee himself, the film continues to be relevant even today, tackling issues of race and politics. It traces a single day on a black in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. As the synopsis reads: "It's the hottest day of the year, a scorching 24-hour period that will change the lives of its residents forever."
The Long Voyage Home (1940)
The film follows the motley crew of the British tramp steamer SS Glencairn prepares the ship for its perilous voyage from the West Indies to Baltimore and then to England.
A Story From Chikamatsu (1954)
After a wealthy master printer wrongly accuses his wife and best employee of being lovers, the pair run away together in order to escape punishment.
La Grande Bouffe (1973)
In this French-Italian film directed by Marco Ferreri, a group of men go to a villa in the French countryside where they resolve to eat themselves to death. Have you ever come across a more relatable plot right now in COVID-19 lockdown? We didn't think so.
The Passionate Friends (1949)
2020 brought us Normal People, but the story of lovers separated by circumstance belongs to 1949's The Passionate Friends. Mary and Steve were in love when young, but separated, with Mary then marrying an older man. When they meet again years later, they have one last fling together in the Alps.
Station Six-Sahara (1963)
Starring screen siren Carroll Baker, the film sees Baker play a beautiful blonde who joins a small group of men running an oil station in the Sahara Desert. Naturally, emotions start soaring.
What Price Hollywood? (1932)
Starring Constance Bennett and Howell Sherman, the film tells the story of a young waitress whose career takesoff when she meets an amiable drunken Hollywood director.
Winter Kills (1979)
Following on from the conviction of the Pickering Commission that concluded one lone gunman killed U.S. President Timothy Kegan in 1960, the film takes up 19 years later when a dying man confesses to be the real shooter hired to kill him. Kegan's brother and rich father then investigate.