A large star delegation arrived at the Cannes Film Festival for Wes Anderson’s film The French Freedom Trap of Kansas, Evening Sun. The one-year premiere of the film by the famous American director received the audience with enthusiastic applause as it stood before and after the screening.
Cannes (from our colleague) – The interest is understandable, among the novelties are Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Timothée Chalamet, Frances McDormand, Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody and many other famous names. Some, like Edward Norton, have only a few minutes they can rarely afford, except for Wes Anderson, author of Underwater or When the Moon Rising.
Of the many players in Cannes, paradoxically, only the home team Léa Seydoux is missing, who despite the vaccination positively assessed covid-19 and had to remain in quarantine in Paris.
Famous faces are accompanied by chansons by Charles Aznavour or compositions by Claude Debussy and Fryderyk Chopin and original music by Alexander Desplat. He also received one of two Oscars for the soundtrack of Anderson’s film Grandhotel Budapest.
More French than France
This time the picture features retro posters, picturesque scenery and perhaps all the attributes of French culture. The director is gradually focusing on art, sex, revolution, as well as gastronomy and cinema.
The nostalgic film features a trio of short stories surrounded by stories about the fictional American newspaper Liberty Kansas, Evening Sun, which founded a branch in a small French town and became a legend there.
Bill Murray, as a kind of editor-in-chief, runs the newspaper almost bohemianly. In his editorial office, geniuses alternate with journalists who have not written a single line in their long careers. Everyone’s motto is: Whatever you write, try to make it look like a purpose.
Pictured are Lyna Khoudri, Frances McDormand and Timothée Chalamet. | Photo: Searchlight Pictures
After introducing us to the spirit of editorial, Anderson focuses on articles from three sections. They will take us to jail for the latest discovery of an art scene from the art brut genre, to the barricades of revolution and love, and to the third gang that kidnaps the genius chef.
Unlike the author’s previous animated canine island, which similarly liked Japanese realities, the novelty lacks a connecting line or darker tones in the form of an ecological or political context.
Anderson’s paintings are extremely entertaining, pseudo-nostalgic. The approach known, for example, from the Grandhotel Budapest, brings it to perfection. The 52-year-old American replaces studio footage with exterior and animations, a black-and-white picture with color, and talks in silence.
It gives players room for expressive styling, stiffness combined with extravagant hairstyles or stubborn expressions is part of the game.
Wes Anderson’s novelty, The French Freedom Trap, Kansas Evening Sun, will hit Czech cinemas on November 18th. | Video: Falcon
Anderson for Anderson
At the same time, the idea of where scenographic and staging play with a picture leads while watching creeps into my mind. Yes, we can say that it is a slightly ironic tribute to the journalistic craft not only in front of the internet, but also with fax, computer and other inventions. Just from the time when a journalist had to ride a bike after the news. And 107 minutes is not enough.
At the same time, Wes Anderson, with his poetics, was able to address the key moments of adolescence or the crisis of life in such a way that it was not an independent poetics that led only to itself.
As a return to a past that has never really been so beautiful, and as a belief in today’s old-fashioned modernity, novelty is a relaxing, visually sophisticated pastime. Any other shot, star face and artistic potential for it, could come up with a poster.
But if the viewer in the French trap Liberty Kansas Evening Sun falls asleep, he won’t lose anything but a few gags.
The one-year premiere in Cannes was accompanied by an enthusiastic reception. The creators faithfully waited for the most famous festival next year, and Anderson brought in a stellar delegation.
But it is also important to know that the film is limited to the conspiratorial pleasure of playing with picturesque – though often really charming – images. That he is not drawn by a stronger inner tension or story.
In short, Wes Anderson has created a recognizable visual style of his world. And now he lives within his limits.
The author is a film critic of Radiožurnál.
French Telegram Liberty Kansas, Evening Sun.
Screenplay and direction: Wes Anderson
Sokol, Czech premiere on 18 November.