Wes Anderson reunites stars at Cannes for ‘The French Dispatch’


CANNES, France, July 13 (Reuters) – Wes Anderson reunites an all-star cast for his love letter to journalism ‘The French Dispatch,’ a series of vignettes set in the fictional French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé – where life is anything but boring.

Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody and Timothee Chalamet are some of the big names in the film which premiered and received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film follows a bizarre team of reporters working for a Kansas newspaper outpost, who sketch the fantastical stories they encounter – of the murderous painter who becomes a benchmark of modern art from the confines of his prison, amid the heady student protests of May 1968.

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Interspersed with cartoon sequences and teaming up with quirky characters and plots, “The French Dispatch” also offers a look at France – showing the police using tear gas to nibble at intellectual students.

Referring to The New Yorker magazine, Oscar-winning actor Brody said the film was “a love for correspondence and literature and an appreciation for culture”.

“It’s also a reminder of the dignity of real journalism, because it’s a real thing,” Swinton, who steals the screen as the newspaper’s art specialist, told Reuters.

“And I think it’s possible that people have forgotten that or pretend they never knew it, to know that journalism is an incredibly worthy and important cultural enterprise and that we really rely on it.”

Like Murray, Swinton is a regular in Anderson’s films, including “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Moonrise Kingdom.”

“(Anderson) doesn’t even ask. He kind of tells you where and when…and that’s it and if you have half a brain cell, you say OK…I never read the (screenplay) thing” , Swinton said of his collaboration with the American filmmaker.

“It’s not important to finish reading it or studying it. Just look at it (and think) ‘OK, I guess that’s it,'” Murray added.

Set to premiere at Cannes last year, the critically acclaimed comedy-drama is among the films in the running for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.

“Most of us saw it two years ago, but on a smaller screen,” Swinton said. “But seeing it…on that screen last night and getting the response that we got…it’s like carrying a big bag and we’ve been able to put it down now.”

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Reporting by Hanna Rantala; Additional reporting by Sarah White; Written by Sarah White and Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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