NEW YORK, June 03, 2015 — Wes Anderson, award-winning screenwriter and director, will be awarded Chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters by Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy Bénédicte de Montlaur on June 9 in New York. Anderson receives the award in recognition of his unique and influential contributions to American film. Having drawn on French movies and culture in making his films, he brings a distinctly French sensibility to American theaters.
Anderson’s work is heavily reminiscent of the French New Wave, and the filmmaker himself attests to having been inspired by Truffaut’s classic Les Quatre Cent Coups (400 Blows), which helped push him towards being a director (as told on NYPL Live). Films like Rushmore reflect the trend by maintaining levity despite undercurrents of darkness and share Truffaut’s nostalgic fascination with childhood. In The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson uses the camera itself as a narrative tool, not just a window into the action, mimicking a characteristic practice of the New Wave.
Andersons’ work is peppered with references to French culture. The Life Aquatic is a fictionalized ode to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and in Rushmore, Anderson borrows Yves Montand’s rendition of “Rue St. Vincent.” Drawing from French influences, Wes Anderson constructs his own original style: a concoction of striking emotion, vivid aesthetics, and sparse, powerful dialogue.
Said Cultural Counselor Bénédicte de Montlaur, “Wes Anderson draws from the New Wave to create a completely original aesthetic and emotional landscape. He is a first-rate Auteur whose mild surrealism lets him to communicate sentiments too subtle for dialogue alone. His off-kilter flicks are a true contribution to cinema and culture at large.”
Wes Anderson (b. 1969) began shooting silent films with his father’s Super 8 in elementary school; as a teenager, he unearthed a copy of François Truffaut’s classic “400 Blows” (“Les Quatre Cent Coups”), a discovery that helped push him towards being a filmmaker. Anderson graduated from the University of Texas in 1990 with a degree in philosophy, and released his first feature film, “Bottle Rocket,” in 1996. Since then, Anderson, who co-writes all his movies, has directed seven full-length films including “Rushmore” (1998), “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), “Darjeeling limited” (2007) and “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012). His latest, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014), met with widespread critical acclaim and garnered a Golden Globe for “Best Musical or Comedy” along with nine Oscar nominations and four wins. Anderson’s distinctive directorial style has helped make him one of the most recognizable names in American cinema.
The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The Order of Arts and Letters is given out under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Culture and Communication. American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Uma Thurman.
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy provides a platform for exchange and innovation between French and American artists, intellectuals, educators, students, the tech community, and the general public. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the US, the Cultural Services develops the cultural economy by focusing on six principal fields of action: the arts, literature, cinema, the digital sphere, French language and higher education. www.frenchculture.org
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