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The Grand Budapest Hotel

•→A Beginner’s Guide to Wes Anderson Movies

http://www.abramsbooks.com/wesandersoncollection/

GHB

It takes more than a trailer to explain Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” →Fox Searchlight← releases a full, indepth featurette to help out.

A young woman walks into a cemetery in the Republic of Zubrowka, a place said to have fallen on hard times. She passes a bench with three men singing and then approaches a memorial with several hotel keys attached to it, dedicated to a man known only as Author. The woman puts a key on the memorial and then takes out a book titled “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.

1985 – We meet the Author (Tom Wilkinson) in his home as his grandson runs around firing his toy gun. The Author addresses the audience and begins to tell the story behind his book as it was told to him in a very unexpected way.

“…It is an extremely common mistake: people think the writer’s imagination is always at work, that he is constantly inventing an endless supply of incidents and episodes, that he simply dreams-up his stories out of thin air. In point of fact, the opposite is true. Once the public knows you are a writer, they bring the characters and events to you — and as long as you maintain your ability to look and carefully listen, these stories will continue to seek you out …”

*        *        *

•→www.imdb.com/summary plots

⇓   . . .  Three clips 

M. GUSTAVE (holding out a five Klubeck coin):  Run to the cathedral of Santa Maria Christiana in Brucknerplatz. Buy one of the plain, half-length candles and take back four Klubecks in change. Light it in the sacristy, say a brief rosary, then go to Mendl’s and get me a Courtesan au chocolat. If there’s any money left, give it to the crippled shoe-shine boy.

M. Gustave points to a blind child in leg braces crouched at the top of the funicular tracks. The boy whistles a war march while he polishes a man’s boots.

ZERO:   Right away, sir.

INT. STORAGE PANTRY.  There are rows of safety-deposit boxes with engraved room-numbers along the walls. M. Gustave hides the wrapped package behind a radiator….

ANATOLE:  Excuse me. The police are here. They asked for you.

M. GUSTAVE:  Tell them we’ll be right down.

Anatole goes back down the steps. M. Gustave and Zero look down into the lobby through a window. Eight uniformed officers wait at the concierge desk.

M. GUSTAVE:  Have you ever been questioned by the authorities?

ZERO (grimly):  Yes, on one occasion, I was arrested and tortured by the rebel militia after the Desert Uprising.

M. GUSTAVE (hesitates): Right. Well, you know the drill, then. Zip it.

ZERO:  Of course.

M. GUSTAVE:  You’ve never heard the word van Hoytl in your life.

ZERO:  Got it.

M. GUSTAVE:  OK. Let’s go.

M. Gustave and Zero descend into the lobby. M. Gustave’s face brightens as he crosses the room and greets the visitors:

M. GUSTAVE:  How may we serve you, gentlemen?

POLICE CAPTAIN (producing a warrant):  By order of the Commissioner of Police, Zubrowka Province, I hereby place you under arrest for the murder of Madame Céline Villeneuve Desgoffe und Taxis.

M. GUSTAVE (somehow vindicated):  I knew there was something fishy! We never got the cause of death! She’s been murdered — and you think I did it.

M. Gustave turns away and breaks into a sprint through the lobby. The police chase him. Zero watches, stunned.

A wiry, pint-sized convict the shape of a fire-hydrant squints out from under his covers. He is Pinky.

M. GUSTAVE:  Good morning, Pinky.

Pinky yawns and sets his feet to the floor. The convicts in the other bunks (Günther and Wolf) also begin to rustle. (A fourth convict, also in the room, begins to get out of bed, as well) M. Gustave reaches to the lower shelf of the cart and produces a pink pastry-box. All the convicts quickly gather at a small table. (The fourth convict sits with his back to the camera.)

PINKY (eagerly):  Mendl’s again?

M. GUSTAVE: Precisely. Who’s got the throat-slitter?

Günther digs in his sock and takes out a small weapon consisting of a half-toothbrush fixed with wire to a hand-slivered straight-razor cut into serrated teeth.

WOLF:  Out of this world. M.

GUSTAVE:   Mendl’s is the best. Well, back to work.

PINKY:   Mr. Gustave?

M. GUSTAVE (hesitates):   Yeah?

PINKY: Me and the boys talked it over. We think you’re a real straight fella.

M. GUSTAVE:  Well, I’ve never been accused of that before, but I appreciate the sentiment.

PINKY:  You’re one of us now.

M. GUSTAVE (somewhat moved):  What a lovely thing to say! Thank you, dear Pinky. Thank you, Günther. Thank you, Wolf . . . Anything else?

PINKY:  Tell him, Ludwig.

CUT TO … The fourth convict: numerous short scars chop skinny, bald lines into his shorn scalp. His arms are tattooed heavily with skulls, skeletons, and images of the grim reaper. He has one silver tooth and a bit of buttercream icing on the side of his mouth. His name’s Ludwig. He takes a deep breath…

LUDWIG:  Check-point Nineteen ain’t no two-bit hoosegow. You got broad-gauge iron bars on every door, vent, and window. You got seventy-two guards on the floor and sixteen more in the towers. You got a 325 foot drop into a moat full of crocodiles — but, like the best of ‘em, it’s got a soft spot, which in this case happens to take the form of a stormdrain sewer-system datin’ from the time of the original rock fortification way back in the middle ages. Now, nobody’s sayin’ it’s a stroll down a tree-lined promenade with a fine lady and a white poodle, but it’s got what you’d call “vulnerability” — and that’s our bread and butter. Take a look.

Ludwig produces a crude but highly detailed map and floor-plan of the castle compound drawn with charcoal on a strip of butcher paper. M. Gustave examines it with fixed concentration…

•→ SCRIPT_BOOK.pdf

The Grand Budapest Hotel received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for the film’s visual style and Fiennes’ lead performance.

reviews

Alonso Duralde of The Wrap gave the film a positive review, saying “Course after course of desserts, presented with a flourish and served so promptly that you can barely catch your breath between treats. It’s not until an hour or two has passed that you realize that you haven’t really eaten anything.”

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film: “In a very appealing if outre way, its sensibility and concerns are very much those of an earlier, more elegant era, meaning that the film’s deepest intentions will fly far over the heads of most modern filmgoers.”

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three and a half out of four stars, saying “It’s a filigreed toy box of a movie, so delicious-looking you may want to lick the screen. It is also, in the Anderson manner, shot through with humor, heartbreak and a bruised romantic’s view of the past.”

O. Scott of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying “This movie makes a marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures. You can call this escapism if you like. You can also think of it as revenge.”

Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film four out of four stars, saying The Grand Budapest Hotel is by far the most headlong comedic affair in Anderson’s canon. It’s practically Marx Brothers-ian at moments. And Fiennes – who knew he was capable of such wicked, witty timing?!”

James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three out of four stars, saying “It offers an engaging 90+ minutes of unconventional, comedy-tinged adventure that references numerous classic movies while developing a style and narrative approach all its own.”

Moira MacDonald of The Seattle Times gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying “Every frame is carefully composed like the illustrations from a beloved book (characters are precisely centered; costumes are elaborately literal); the dialogue feels both unexpected and happily familiar.”

Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gave the film four out of four stars, saying “I’m not sure what the formal definition of a masterpiece is, but ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ strikes me as something very close.”

∞  The Grand Budapest Hotel Interview – Wes Anderson  ⇓ (2014)

 Behind the Scenes … ⇒Part 1Part 2 

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