When I watched The Royal Tenenbaums this summer, I completely and utterly fell in love with Wes Anderson’s movies. Less than four months later, I’d watched everything else he’d ever done and dragged my mom to the theater to see Moonrise Kingdom with me.
It’s nice that Anderson has a short enough filmography that you can do that. If you’re so inclined, you could watch his seven feature length movies in a day or two. But a short filmography is also kind of terrible because you run out of movies much too quickly. So, I was psyched when I learned he had a movie coming out in 2014.
The Grand Budapest Hotel won’t be in theaters until March, but it’s already started making the festival rounds by opening the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this month. For a breakdown of the major characteristics of this newest Anderson movie, just keep reading.
The trailer presents the movie as a madcap whirlwind through the life of legendary hotel concierge Gustave H. He works at the Grand Budapest hotel, charming customers, until he’s accused of the murder of one of the guests.
I’m assuming he probably didn’t murder her because the murdered guest bequeathed him a painting in her will, and they actually give it to him. But other people want the painting, so Gustave, Zero and Agatha have to hide it.
Based on the trailer, I’m not sure if more of the hijinks occur when Gustave is accused of murder or while trying to keep track of the painting, but it looks fun either way.
While one of the main characters, lobby boy Zero Moustafa, is played by a newcomer (Tony Revolori), The Grand Budapest Hotel is also chock full of well-known actors. Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (Skyfall, Harry Potter) stars as Gustave H. while fellow Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan (The Host, Hanna, Atonement) plays Zero’s love interest, Agatha.
Anderson is one of those directors who’s known for casting the same people in a lot of his movies, and he keeps with this tradition in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton were all in Moonrise Kingdom and make appearances in this movie. Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson have been in multiple previous Anderson movies and have roles in The Grand Budapest Hotel as well.
Such famous names as Jude Law, Mathieu Amalric, Lea Séydoux, F. Murray Abraham and Tom Wilkinson round out the large cast.
Previous Anderson movies have included an element of the imaginary, including the “Jaguar shark” in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Grand Budapest Hotel is no different. But this time, Anderson makes up an Eastern European country. The movie is set in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between World War I and World War II.
Presumably, as with the semi-imaginary New York City setting in The Royal Tenenbaums, the Republic of Zubrowka will resemble an actual Eastern European country. Indeed, most of the filming took place in Germany.
For more information on the Republic of Zubrowka, you should check out this website. It’s technically the official website for The Grand Budapest Hotel, but it’s set up as a class about the country, complete with history, and it gives off a kind of Anderson vibe for those of you who haven’t seen any of his films.
So now that you are, of course, dying to see this movie, what can you do before it comes out to ease the wait? I’m glad you asked. If you haven’t seen the rest of Anderson’s films, I suggest you start there, but for the Anderson veterans among you, there are a few options that aren’t rewatching all your DVDs.
For more on The Grand Budapest Hotel, check out the trailer or the clips below. The clips include one of Bill Murray’s scenes, Zero and Gustave’s first meeting and Gustave’s encounter with the police.
For more Anderson, I highly recommend Saturday Night Live’s parody trailer of what would happen if he made a horror movie. The trailer for fictional movie “The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders” has inside references to most, if not all, of Anderson’s movies. You should also check out cinematographer Alex Buono’s blog post on the making of the trailer.
And of course, The Grand Budapest Hotel hits theaters on March 7. I’ll definitely be going! Will you?