Wes Anderson’s Shorts Films & Commercials: A Playlist of 8 Short Andersonian Works

You may have noticed cer­tain brands, over the past decade or so, going for a “Wes Ander­son aes­thet­ic” in their adver­tise­ments. But as all the younger film­mak­ers Ander­son inspires inevitably find out, repli­cat­ing the direc­tor’s sig­na­ture mise-en-scène — the dis­tinc­tive col­or palettes, the rig­or­ous geom­e­try, the care­ful­ly curat­ed objects — is no easy task. To achieve the cin­e­mat­i­cal­ly Ander­son­ian, it seems you real­ly need Ander­son him­self. For­tu­nate­ly for cer­tain mar­ket­ing depart­ments, the auteur of Rush­moreThe Roy­al Tenen­baums, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and oth­er pic­tures (includ­ing the upcom­ing The French Dis­patch) has occa­sion­al­ly made him­self avail­able for com­mer­cial work.

But as any­one who has seen one or two of Ander­son­’s movies might expect, the man appears to have lit­tle inter­est in mak­ing straight­for­ward com­mer­cials. Even when direct­ing short spots for the likes of Amer­i­can Express or Stel­la Artois, Ander­son brings us into his very own aes­thet­ic and cul­tur­al realm: in the for­mer he sat­i­rizes a cer­tain idea of his own process on set, and in the lat­ter he cre­ates com­e­dy from his pen­chant for (and mas­tery of) ear­ly-1960s Euro­pean design. In oth­er instances he’s tak­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to indulge his cinephil­ia more direct­ly than usu­al, as in his Jacques Tati-inspired com­mer­cial for Japan­ese cell­phone ser­vice provider Soft­Bank. You can see all these and more on our Youtube playlist of eight of Ander­son­’s short films.

Com­mer­cial direc­tors often dis­cuss their projects in the same terms they would use to dis­cuss short films. But it seems that every time Ander­son makes a com­mer­cial, he real­ly does make a short film. Some­times he makes both: after he direct­ed a 44-sec­ond ad for Pra­da, he went on with the fash­ion house­’s spon­sor­ship to direct the sev­en-minute Castel­lo Cav­al­can­ti. But ever since mak­ing the thir­teen-minute black-and-white short that would become his debut fea­ture Bot­tle Rock­et, Ander­son has also used short films in ser­vice of his long ones. Cousin Ben’s Troop Screen­ing makes for a fun intro­duc­tion to Moon­rise King­domHotel Cheva­lier is prac­ti­cal­ly required view­ing before The Dar­jeel­ing Lim­it­ed. Both remind us that, how­ev­er sol­id the work a brand can get out of him, Wes Ander­son pro­motes noth­ing quite as delight­ful­ly as he pro­motes Wes Ander­son. Watch the playlist of 8 com­mer­cials and short films here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Com­plete Col­lec­tion of Wes Ander­son Video Essays

Wes Ander­son Explains How He Writes and Directs Movies, and What Goes Into His Dis­tinc­tive Film­mak­ing Style

Watch the Coen Broth­ers’ TV Com­mer­cials: Swiss Cig­a­rettes, Gap Jeans, Tax­es & Clean Coal

Wim Wen­ders Cre­ates Ads to Sell Beer (Stel­la Artois), Pas­ta (Bar­il­la), and More Beer (Car­ling)

David Lynch’s Sur­re­al Com­mer­cials

Fellini’s Three Bank of Rome Com­mer­cials, the Last Thing He Did Behind a Cam­era (1992)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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