1. Hotel Chevalier (written and directed by Wes Anderson)
Wes Anderson is an auteur in the old-fashioned French meaning of the word. He writes, directs and oversees every nuance of the film. His sets are meticulously crafted, each piece personally chosen and perfectly placed. A few characteristics of Wes Anderson films: sweeping colour schemes, at least one scene with slo-mo, quirky and highly addictive soundtracks, Jason Schwartzman, the Wilson brothers, Bill Murray, the font Futura Bold among many others. His films are like distinctive worlds, each one a seperate reality, wholly populated by flawed and ultimately loveable characters. My favourite Anderson film has to be The Royal Tenenbaums, a film so perfectly made, with just the right doses of pathos and humor. (Although Rushmore isn’t far behind.) Hotel Chevalier is kind of a prologue to the Darjeeling Limited, with Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman in the eponymous hotel. On kind of a side note, I love Natalie Portman, especially with her short hair. I have developed a massive celebrity crush on her, ever since V for Vendetta. In Hotel Chevalier, she’s nude, a lot.
Watch it on Google Video or Youtube. Or get it here. Hotel Chevalier.
2. Me La Debes (written and directed by Carlos Cuaron)
I love the Cuaron brothers, Alfonso and Carlos. Ever since Y Tu Mama Tambien, I have to come to adore these two, with their flair for cinematography, their raunchy scripts and their all-too human characters. Y Tu Mama Tambien is my all-time favourite film. Not just for pushing the boundaries of sexual abandon but for the subtle ways in which it deals with the deeper issues here, of growing up, of angst, of the political dissonance in a country, and ultimately, of death. Y Tu Mama is all about freedom, of letting go of your preconceived notions and of giving yourself to the moment. Living simply because you are alive. Y Tu Mama Tambien is a celebration of all things human and I love it so much. Written by Carlos and Alfonso, directed by Alfonso. Me La Debes (You Owe Me One) is a short along the lines of Y Tu Mama. Its a fun romp and pushes the same buttons that Y Tu did but on a slightly smaller scope. A family of three, father, mother and daughter, seem normal on the outside but like everyone else, they have lives that may shock and surprise you. Hilarious, clever and oh so smart, Me La Debes is one of my favourite shorts.
Watch it here: Me La Debes.
PS – Carlos and Alfonso have a new film out soon called Rudo Y Cursi, which I cannot wait for. It reunites the duo from Y Tu Mama Tambien, Gael Garcia Bernal (who I also adore) and Diego Luna. Watch the trailer here.Wes Anderson has a stop-motion animation due out soon too. Based on the Roald Dahl book, the Fantastic Mr Fox looks amazing and has a stellar cast including Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Meryl Streep, George Clooney and get this, Bill Murray as a badger. Watch the trailer here.
I cannot wait for both of these films.