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Watch: Melancholy and Loss in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s detractors often delight in taking umbrage with the filmmaker’s “twee” aesthetic, claiming that his formal specificity undermines the emotion his films ought to inspire. This video essay by Matt Zoller Seitz, one in a series adapted from his book The Wes Anderson Collection, dismantles that claim through the lens of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and its myriad melancholic layers of loss and thwarted re-invention. With respect to Zero, Seitz notes that “The most important parts of a story are the parts people omit, the abysses they sidestep,” and how Agatha becomes a vague, distant cypher — both narratively and through Yeoman’s framing — as a result.

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