Has Wes Anderson Entered His “European Period”?

Colin Marshall thinks so:

His next feature film, The Great Budapest Hotel, which comes out in March, takes place in its titular location. His new short film Castello Cavalcanti [seen above], 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.

Forrest Wickman has more on Castello Cavalcanti:

Starring Anderson favorite Jason Schwartzman, an American who crashes into a piece of his own past, the short is—like so many Wes Anderson ads—also an opportunity for Anderson to pay tribute to his cinematic ancestors.

Specifically, Castello Cavalcanti seems to be full of nods to the work of Federico Fellini. (Another director, by the way, who made commercials.) In The Wes Anderson Collection, Anderson cites Fellini as an influence for his work in caricature. Here, the caricatures are all over town, but the Christ statue in the center seems to have been air-lifted from La Dolce Vita, alongside the motorcycle-riding paparazzo, and the car race itself seems to be an homage to the car race in Fellini’s Amarcord. And it’s not just Fellini: The title character seems to be named after Brazilian-born director Alberto Cavalcanti, of whom Anderson is a fan.

Kristie Puchko isn’t bothered that Anderson made the film for Prada, remarking, “True to Anderson’s style, the colors are vivid, the dialogue is sharp, and the performances are brightly dynamic.” Peter Weber compares the Prada connection to Chipotle’s artsy, anti-factory farming “stealth ad” that went viral in September:

My bet is that, as explicitly stated by Chipotle, Prada is trying to reach a generation of young consumers who don’t necessarily sit through commercials on TV. And if you’re not going to shell out for a high-dollar spot during, say, the Super Bowl, you have a lot more money available to pay top directors and actors to make interesting, 8-minute films that people will go out of their way to watch. Isn’t that more fun?

Previous Dish on Anderson here, here, and here.