Marissa Hank ‘20
Northampton’s own Academy of Music organized a film festival celebrating the artistic genius of a film producer, director and screenwriter Wes Anderson. From Friday evening into Sunday night, the local community was able to come together and bond over their appreciation for Anderson’s artistic, satirical and thought-provoking movies. “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” were shown each night.
Each movie highlights Anderson’s different storytelling techniques, while being unified in the themes of love and adventure. “Moonrise Kingdom” is for those searching for a nostalgic, feel-good adventure. On the island of New Penzance in 1965, twelve-year olds Sam and Suzy have fallen in love and have run away together. As a storm approaches, the adults set up search parties to find the children. This coming of age saga will warm the hearts of any audience.
Next, “The Royal Tenenbaums” is for those seeking a film about betrayal, failure and reconciliation. Royal Tenenbaum and his wife Etheline have three brilliant children, all of whom achieved great things at an early age. After the couple separated, all traces of the family’s genius were erased. One winter an unexpected reunion occurs, causing a shift in the family’s dynamic. Secrets are discovered and emotions resurface, as a timeless tale unfolds.
And finally, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” is wrought with vengeance, excitement and humor. Steve Zissou is a renowned oceanographer and ocean documentary producer. He has sworn to murder the shark that killed a beloved member of his crew. In this action-packed journey across the sea, the crew of The Belafonte set out in search of the shark, but are met with some unfortunate obstacles along the way. The emotional elements of this film differ from Anderson’s other films, yet this movie holds its ground as a prime example of Anderson’s satirical skill.
As the audience walked into the cozy theatre to begin their Wes Anderson marathon, they were greeted by the friendly faces of the festival workers, who were dressed as characters from the film about to be screened. For the screening of “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” the theatre employees brought the film into reality by dressing as crewmembers from The Belafonte. Even though the audience consisted of a variety of people traveling from all over the local area, everyone joined together in laughter and anticipation as Anderson’s plots unfolded.
For aficionados of Wes Anderson films, the Academy of Music’s weekend long festival was an opportunity to watch these Anderson classics on a big screen rather than the tiny view online streaming allows. For people not well traveled in the realms of Anderson’s films, this film festival also provided a convenient and affordable opportunity to experience these three classic movies for the first time. For those who appreciate Wes Anderson films but may not have wanted to watch all the movies playing in this event, the festival allowed viewers to pick and choose which showings they wished to attend.
If you tragically missed this festival but still hope to watch these films, don’t fret! All three Anderson movies are available on either Netflix or Amazon. Grab some friends, pop some popcorn and craft a Wes Anderson movie marathon all your own.