Kogonada, a South Korean filmmaker and video essayist who is known for his debut film Columbus, has also earned a prolific reputation for a string of different video essays in which he studies the work of acclaimed filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick and Yasujiro Ozu. Kogonada points out interesting details in numerous clips like, for example, how Kubrick composes most of his shots using one-point perspective and how Ozu is fascinated with the motif of windows, doorways and corridors.
In his latest study, Kogonada conducts an analysis of the work of the greatest formalist director of our time—Wes Anderson. Kogonada’s video essay elegantly highlights Wes Anderson’s absolute reverence for the art of symmetry. This is visible in Anderson’s work right from his first success, Rushmore and becomes a recurring element of his filmmaking in other major films by him like The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom.
In the prevalent school of postmodern filmmaking, symmetry is usually discarded as a superficial element because it makes the shot feel like a construct. However, Anderson has managed to use symmetry in his composition to make his quirky universe feel more natural.
Most of the visuals in Anderson’s films feel staged and he emphasizes it by often converting these shots into two dimensional diagrams. With his obsessive use of symmetry, Anderson turns these visuals into beautiful paintings and the screen into a canvas.
Watch Kogonada’s essay, here: