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Cinema

The Unbearable Whiteness of Being (Wes).

“Like his peers Zach Braff, Noah Baumbach (who directed the excellent Squid and the Whale and co-wrote Life Aquatic), and Sofia Coppola (whose brother Roman helped write Darjeeling Limited), Wes Anderson situates his art squarely in a world of whiteness: privileged, bookish, prudish, woebegone, tennis-playing, Kinks-scored, fusty. He’s wise enough to make fun of it here and there, but in the end, there’s something enamored and uncritical about his attitude toward the gaffes, crises, prejudices, and insularities of those he portrays.

Also in Slate Jonah Weiner takes issue with the racial politics of Wes Anderson’s oeuvre. Food for thought — I thought Weiner scored some of his best points early on: “In every film he’s made, even the best ones, there’s been something kind of obnoxious about Wes Anderson. By now, critics [Note: and The Onion] have enumerated several of his more irritating traits and shticks: There’s his pervasive preciousness, exemplified by the way he pins actors into the centers of fastidiously composed tableaux like so many dead butterflies. There’s his slump-shouldered parade of heroes who seem capable of just two emotions: dolorous and more dolorous (not that there haven’t been vibrant exceptions to this). And there’s the way he frequently couples songs — particularly rock songs recorded by shaggy Europeans between 1964 and 1972 — with slow-motion effects, as though he’s sweeping a giant highlighter across the emotional content of a scene. In The Royal Tenenbaums, Richie can’t watch Margot get off a bus without Nico popping up to poke us in the ribs: ‘He loves her! And it’s killing him! See?’” Ouch.

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