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MOONRISE KINGDOM: AN ORIGIN STORY



When I tell people I love cinema, I don’t think they fully understand. I love cinema:

it’s not just a passing phase, not a fleeting interaction, not a single date or a one-night stand. It’s a love story, in the truest sense of the term.

Like any such story, we had our meet-cute, and it was love at first sight. I was myself,but around 10 or 12 years old, ungainly, unsure, and awkward not in the cute, personable sense but in the truest, existentially unsure sense. Classically miserable in that dopey pre- teen type of way, to say the least; I don’t think any of us miss those years. My muse turned out to be Moonrise Kingdom, 2012, Wes Anderson.





Like any early love it’s a bit embarrassing to admit now; Anderson catches a lot of flack in various circles for various reasons, and I now concede that it is somewhat well-deserved. Back then, however, I was absolutely floored.

The film was stunning, unapologetically stunning. It was like I was in a high school

romcom, and the love interest had just waltzed into prom, surrounded by a sea of poorly dressed extras as she moved through them in a sleek red dress, coiffed hair, flawless makeup; though, in this case, it was probably more like a smart, 1960s-style collared dress, messy blue eyeshadow, and Sunday school shoes.

Still, the film was vibrant and beautiful, and it knew it. I remember sitting there, in

this dusty little indie movie theater I lived relatively nearby, and being absolutely

overwhelmed by Anderson’s work, the flawless composition, the golden-hued color palette, the unyielding dedication to Aesthetic with a capital ‘A’ of it all. The scale of his devotion was mind-bending: every prop, every bit of camera movement, every tiny detail in the set design was perfectly tailored in color, texture, and form. He had created a whole world from scratch, and it was a world vibrant with glamour.

I will never forget that radicalizing moment. Radicalizing, not just because love is

almost always a little bit of a rebellion, but also because it opened my eyes to the audacity of art, especially cinema: the audacity of putting so much effort into creating something so beautiful. There’s nothing efficient, or necessary, or justified about Wes Anderson’s films; if anything, they’re absolutely superfluous. The fact that they’re actually profitable in any way is a fucking miracle, in all honesty.



No, their only justification is one man’s love for a certain kind of image. And I love

them for that love, because it is such a daring, foolhardy, and rebellious love to have. It’s a love that exists against all common sense, all metrics of reason, to dedicate itself to a vision of beauty, and beauty alone.

The rest is history, as they say. Our love story continues, and we’ve been happily

together ever since.


-A DZH

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