The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson – 2021) A

A beautiful perfectly constructed tapestry of a movie. The framing device (more like devices) is that the French Dispatch is a weekly published in a fictitious town called Ennui, France as a dispatch from the parent newspaper based in Liberty, Kansas. The film is the final issue since the editor (Bill Murray) just passed away and per his will the Dispatch will be discontinued. We see 3 of the articles from this issue (plus the lovely short intro to the town from Owen Wilson’s Sazerac) with the second one (with Benicio del Toro as an artist serving time for murder who finds a muse in the beautiful Simone -played by Lea Seydoux- and Adrian Brody who discovers him while serving time for fraud…) being my favorite. The last piece is excellent as well (Jeffrey Wright as a James Baldwin-like character writing a story about food, kidnapping and the French police…). The middle story (Francis McDormand and Timothee Chalamet as journalist and subject during the 1968 Paris student demonstrations….) is my least favorite but still a wonderful interlude. I loved the whole thing and like The Grand Budapest Hotel and other Anderson films it is watching and admiring the craft of building a shot, every shot. Thematically the whole comes together clearly as a love letter to journalists and especially publications like the New Yorker. In Bill Murray’s character we get that ideal editor who protects and supports his writers in every thing they do while steering them in the right direction. It’s about writing and art as it is in itself lovely work of art, a beautifully decorated pastry that is as wonderful to look at as to consume and think about.

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