Of all the movies held back due to the pandemic, The French Dispatch is one of the top three I wanted to get a digital release. The film will debut on October 2nd, but only in theaters which means I’ll see it sometime in December when I can watch it in the safety (and peace and quiet) of my own home.
Until then, I’m happy to come across this article in The New Yorker that is just as much about Wes Anderson as it is about his film. Here is an early tidbit about Anderson’s attachment to The New Yorker:
When I was in eleventh grade, my homeroom was in the school library, and I sat in a chair where I had my back to everybody else, and I faced a wooden rack of what they labelled “periodicals.” One had drawings on the cover. That was unusual. I think the first story I read was by Ved Mehta, a “Letter from [New] Delhi.” I thought, I have no idea what this is, but I’m interested. But what I was most interested in were the short stories, because back then I thought that was what I wanted to do—fiction. Write stories and novels and so on. When I went to the University of Texas in Austin, I used to look at old bound volumes of The New Yorker in the library, because you could find things like a J. D. Salinger story that had never been collected. Then I somehow managed to find out that U.C. Berkeley was getting rid of a set, forty years of bound New Yorkers, and I bought them for six hundred dollars. I would also have my own new subscription copies bound (which is actually not a good way to preserve them). When the magazine put the whole archive online, I stopped paying to bind mine. But I still keep them. I have almost every issue, starting in the nineteen-forties.
Depending on your level of curiosity and knowledge of The New Yorker, the rest of the interview might contain too much information, also known as spoilers. So I’ll end this with this exchange between the article author, Susan Morrison and Anderson.
People have been calling the movie a love letter to journalists. That’s encouraging, given that we live in a time when journalists are being called the enemies of the people.
That’s what our colleagues at the studio call it. I might not use that exact turn of phrase, just because it’s not a love letter. It’s a movie. But it’s about journalists I have loved, journalists who have meant something to me. For the first half of my life, I thought of The New Yorker as primarily a place to read fiction, and the movie we made is all fiction. None of the journalists in the movie actually existed, and the stories are all made up. So I’ve made a fiction movie about reportage, which is odd.
With that in mind, I would love to see a similar treatment—a movie—about Tyler Brûlé, Andrew Tuck, and the troupe at Monocle magazine and their radio station, M24. Not by Wes Anderson, but a better fit like writer/director Armando Iannucci.➵