With the unsettling combination of mixed reviews from my inner circle and waiting almost two years for The French Dispatch of the Liberty Kansas Evening Sun to land, I entered the Luna Leederville Cinema in Perth on the 1st of January with a preserved excitement; a trust pickled in the juices of all he has done before.
Puzzled that a dear artistic and fellow admirer of Anderson said she was tempted to walk out due to the disjointed narrative, I wondered how it could have possibly gone wrong. Then I found it… THE ESSENTIAL PRE-READ.
When purchasing our tickets I couldn’t help but notice the stack of slim magazines resembling a copy of The New Yorker sitting awkwardly on the countertop. We weren’t guided to one by the attendant which was odd considering the efforts made to create the surrounding customised signage, soundtrack, and snack bar. And so, everyone else in sight in the packed cinema was eagerly awaiting the latest Wes feature sans ESSENTIAL PRE-READ!
To avoid any further misunderstandings of the film I have scanned the contents of the short, ripe, and juicy mag for you at the local library today here in Hopetoun.
THE ESSENTIAL PRE-READ sets up the entire film and makes sense of the jagged storyline in all of its quirky foreign outpost glory. Outside of the impeccable illustrations, the fictional French town of Ennui makes for a quintessential Anderson set alongside the Kansas-based office run by Arthur Howitzer Jr (Bill Murray) and his band of contributors. The characters come to life from print to film and some as treasured memories, inspired by real people who lived extravagant real-life roles. Read, see, revel.
Unfortunately, the ongoing subscription mentioned on the second last page is not available outside of the US and Canada… but do try to get your hands on a copy of the magazine while it’s in cinemas! You’re more likely (I am guessing) to snag one in an arthouse cinema such as Palace or Luna than larger branches like Events.
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