Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has detailed some of the favourite films of her close friend and colleague Wes Anderson.
Paltrow, who famously worked with Anderson on his acclaimed 2001 comedy drama The Royal Tenenbaums, asked the director to detail five films which he considers to be his favourites as part of an editorial piece she put together for her lifestyle website Goop.
“I love film and whether it is an exceptional documentary, a classic or a Seth Rogen vehicle, I am always excited about seeing something that my friends love,” Paltrow explains in her article. “This week, I asked five brilliant directors (four of whom I have worked with, and one who I worship) to share their top five… their choices range from the serious to the whimsical to everything in between.”
After speaking to the likes of Steven Spielberg, Jon Favreau, James Gray and Sofia Coppola, Paltrow approached the Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and Grand Budapest Hotel director who she described as “one of the most specific directors I have ever worked with.”
She added: “When I played Margot in The Royal Tenenbaums, he knew exactly how he wanted my hair, clothes, and eye makeup. He is so inspiring to work with because you feel like you are the one crazy, important colour he needs to create the whole picture. Also, he is a great dresser.”
Below, see the five cinematic pieces that Anderson detailed to Paltrow as influences:
Terror’s Advocate – Barbet Schroeder, 2007
Kicking things off, Barbet Schroeder’s 2007 French feature documentary film Terror’s Advocate, a picture which explores the life of controversial lawyer Jacques Verges.
Official Film Synopsis: “Jacques Verges, a lawyer and former Free French Forces guerrilla, defends war criminals and those who deny the validity of the Holocaust.
“One key point of the documentary is the revelation of the link between Vergès and François Genoud, a Swiss Nazi who bankrolled many anti-Western initiatives in the second part of the 20th century, be they right-wing, left-wing, secular or Islamic-inspired, including Algerian and Palestinian nationalists as well as far-right and far-left European militants.”
Bonus detail from Paltrow: “Barbet Schroeder’s great documentary, Terror’s Advocate, also relates to another one I would highly recommend, which is Marcel Ophüls’ documentary Hôtel Terminus (except I think you can only get it on VHS),” Paltrow suggests. “There is kind of a miniature version of Terror’s Advocate in the middle of it.”
Neon Genesis Evangelion – Hideaki Anno, 1995
Literally translated as ‘The Gospel of the New Century’, this Hideaki Anno is a thing of cult legend and, according to many, led to a rebirth of the anime industry.
“This is a Japanese cartoon that is very difficult to describe and might not sound that great if I tried anyway,” Paltrow writes. “It is 24 episodes, and we watched them all in less than a week because you start to want to believe it’s real. This could spawn something like.”
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Gwyneth.
Official Film Synopsis: “Evangelion is set fifteen years after a worldwide cataclysm, particularly in the futuristic fortified city of Tokyo-3. The protagonist is Shinji, a teenage boy who was recruited by his father to the shadowy organisation Nerv to pilot a giant bio-machine mecha called an ‘Evangelion’ into combat with alien beings called ‘Angels’.”
From the Life of Marionettes – Ingmar Bergman, 1980
It wouldn’t be
a Wes Anderson any list of great films without the inclusion of Ingmar Bergman somewhere along the line.
From the Life of the Marionettes, Bergman’s 1980 television film, was produced in Germany while the filmmaker was in “tax exile” from his native Sweden. Shot entirely in black and white, the film became well known for the two surprise colour scenes at the beginning and end of the picture.
Official Film Synopsis: “Peter and Katarina are at a marital crossroads, but, when he brutally kills a burlesque dancer, their domestic squabbles are rendered trivial by comparison. In the wake of the crime, the film backtracks, painting a portrait of the fraught union between Peter and Katarina. When does a marriage go bad? What causes a member of the German bourgeoisie to murder an innocent woman?”
New York Stories – Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, 1989
It feels a bit like New York Stories isn’t discussed more often. The concept, bringing together three of the most iconic directors in modern cinema to work on a combined trilogy anthology film, is an unprecedented one.
The project, which was bound to create a bit of competition between the three, consists of three shorts with the central theme being New York City. While the film had the big names involved, it didn’t succeed at the box office.
The opener, Martin Scorsese’s story of a disillusioned painter, was highly celebrated and remains the project’s lasting legacy. The middle section, Life Without Zoë, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and written by Coppola with his daughter, Sofia Coppola, was dismissed as some of his least effective work to date and Oedipus Wrecks, Allen’s finale, also failed to impress.
Goes without saying that Wes Anderson chose Scorsese’s effort as one of his favourite cinematic moments.
Official Film Synopsis: “Lionel Dobie, an acclaimed abstract artist who finds himself unable to paint during the days before a scheduled gallery exhibition of his new work. Paulette is Lionel’s assistant and former lover. Lionel is still infatuated with her, but Paulette wants only his tutelage, which makes things difficult since they live in the same studio-loft. Paulette dates other people, including a performance artist and a painter.”
Missing – Costa-Gavras, 1982
Starring the likes of Sissy Spacek, Jack Lemmon, Melanie Mayron and John Shea, Costa-Gavras’ 1982 historical drama Missing is based on the true story of American journalist Charles Horman who disappeared amid the US-backed Chilean coup of 1973.
Given its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Missing went on to receive four nominations at 55th Academy Awards for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best ‘Actor’, ‘Best Actress’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ – the latter being the only victory.
Official Film Synopsis: “In 1973, U.S. businessman Ed Horman arrives in Chile to look for his son, Charles, a politically left-leaning journalist who disappeared during a military coup. Charles’ wife, Beth, has been looking for some time, but her requests for help from the U.S. consulate have thus far produced few results.
“As Ed and Beth try to figure out what really happened to Charles, Ed realises that the American officials may know more than they’re telling.”