Watch Wes Anderson’s Charming New Short Film, Castello Cavalcanti, Starring Jason Schwartzman

Wes Ander­son, it seems, has entered his Euro­pean peri­od. His next fea­ture film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which comes out in March, takes place in its tit­u­lar loca­tion. His new short film Castel­lo Cav­al­can­ti, too, takes place in its tit­u­lar loca­tion, a ham­let tucked away some­where undis­closed in Italy. Then again, has­n’t Ander­son, aes­thet­i­cal­ly and ref­er­en­tial­ly speak­ing, always enjoyed some­thing of a Euro­pean peri­od? (Maybe we can call it Euro­pean by way of his native Texas, which, for me, only adds to the visu­al inter­est.) This, com­bined with his appar­ent fas­ci­na­tion with the objects and built envi­ron­ment of the ear­ly- to late-mid­dle twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, has won him a great many fans sym­pa­thet­ic to his sen­si­bil­i­ties. (Along with, of course, a hand­ful of detrac­tors less sym­pa­thet­ic to them.) This brief but vibrant new piece should, for them, res­onate on sev­er­al lev­els at once.

Ander­son trans­ports us to Castel­lo Cav­al­can­ti in the suit­ably mid­cen­tu­ry year of 1955. The qui­et evening scene, exud­ing that rich­ly Ital­ian feel­ing falling some­where between idyll and indo­lence, splin­ters apart when a race car crash­es into the cen­ter of town. Out of the wreck emerges the unscathed but enraged dri­ver: Jed Cav­al­can­ti, played by none oth­er than Jason Schwartz­man, star of Ander­son­’s 1998 break­out Rush­more. Once his anger at his broth­er-in-law mechan­ic cools — evi­dent­ly, the steer­ing wheel got screwed on back­ward — the Ital­ian-Amer­i­can Cav­al­can­ti real­izes he may have dri­ven not only straight into his own ances­tral vil­lage, but into the com­pa­ny of his ances­tors them­selves. These charm­ing and vivid­ly col­or­ful sev­en Ander­son­ian min­utes come brought to you by Pra­da, who, apart from our hero’s rac­ing suit, don’t seem to have left many overt stamps on the fin­ished prod­uct. Prada’s prices may still keep me away from their door, but their taste in direc­tors sure won’t.

Castel­lo Cav­al­can­ti will be added to our col­lec­tion of 600 Free Movies Online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch 7 New Video Essays on Wes Anderson’s Films: Rush­more, The Roy­al Tenen­baums & More

Wes Ander­son from Above. Quentin Taran­ti­no From Below

Wes Anderson’s First Short Film: The Black-and-White, Jazz-Scored Bot­tle Rock­et (1992)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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