Grand Wes

Happy Birthday today 1 May to Wes Anderson. Wesley Wales Anderson  is known for his distinctive and quirky films which include ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ ‘The Darjeeling Limited,’ ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel.’

Anderson has always been a bit of a talent. While in school he mounted productions based on well-known stories, films and TV shows such as his sock puppet version of the 1978 Kenny Rogers album The Gambler. While at the University of Texas at Austin he met Owen Wilson , which explains why Wilson been a writing partner or cast member in most Anderson films.

His big breakthrough came with the release of his third full-length film, The Royal Tenenbaums  written with Owen Wilson. The ensemble all-star cast  included Gene Hackman, Anjelica Houston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny Glover, Billy Murray, Ben Stiller and Luke and Owen Wilson.and garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. His animated work Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), based on the Roald Dahl book, stars Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, George Clooney and Meryl Streep who voice  woodland animals fighting against an evil farmer. The film received an Oscar for filmography.

But it is the 2014 feature film The Grand Budapest Hotel starring Ralph Fiennes, F Murray Abraham and Tilda Swinton that is his most acclaimed work. It won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy and nine Academy Award nominations. Anderson took home his first Oscar as a Director and the film won recognition for makeup, costume design and production design and original score.

The Grand Budapest Hotel tells the tale of a stately hotel in the fictional Alpine country of Zubrowka but the fascinating thing is that it is neither grand, nor a hotel nor in Budapest. The interior is actually a shopping center in the  German town of Gorlitz and the exterior is a miniature model created by set designer Adam Stockhausen.

The film has created a number of cult images and unlikely stars. The character that really saves the day is a tower of cream-filled pastries called a Courtesan au Chocolat created by  fictional baker Herr Mendl. The pastry was actually made by Gorlitz baker  Anemone Müller of Cafe CaRe who worked with Anderson to perfect the final look. You can try making your own version if you’re game.

To celebrate the birthday of Wes Anderson I have gone for gift wrap that features cult images from the movie and adorned it with a simple tailored bow. I did try a blue bow like the one that appears on the Mendl’s Bakery packaging but it didn’t quite work.So pink it is and given the aesthetic of the film, I think pink is fitting, specially set against a snowy background.

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