‘Same old song’: on audio-visual style in the films of Wes Anderson

Boschi, Elena and McNelis, Tim (2012) ‘Same old song’: on audio-visual style in the films of Wes Anderson. New Review of Film and Television Studies, 10 (1). pp. 28-45. ISSN 1740-0309

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Wes Anderson's films display a carefully crafted symbiotic relationship between songs, visuals and dialogue. Songs are essential to the storytelling style we see and hear across his cinematic oeuvre – a style we cannot simply describe as visual. From Bottle Rocket (1996) through The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), soundtracks often drive the narrative and enrich the development of the characters. We discuss five stylistic threads, illustrating their trajectory through examples from four of Anderson's films. Music plays a paramount role in producing nostalgia and structuring his trademark montage sequences. Silence and/or music often replace ambient sound in synergy with changes in the visuals to intensify significant narrative moments, and music-related technology links characters and their objects of desire or loss. Finally, songs carry paratextual information, which can add a further layer of meaning. In this paper, we argue that these audio-visual stylistic threads are a defining feature of Anderson's films.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Wes Anderson, film music, nostalgia, montage, silence, music-related technology
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Music (up to 30th April 2018)
Depositing User: Susan Murray
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2014 09:55
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2014 09:55
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/144

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