Wes Anderson is considered by many to be a genius in the world of modern cinema. His Post-modern aesthetic and storytelling have been praised by critics. His characters often operate in a "heightened" reality, stylized by reserved performances from the actors and specific design and color palates for the sets. The cinematography is often characterized by wide shots of the performers often against sparse backgrounds. Classic, indie and world music play a huge part in Anderson's films. From the Beetles to Portuguese covers of David Bowie songs, Anderson idiosyncratic touch is all over every film he makes. It is the culmination these elements that have assured Anderson's brilliance among critics as a true auteur. But let's face it, the general public thinks Anderson is an elitist asshole and doesn't understand his work, let alone think he's a genius. Which might be, why he and the Decemberists go together like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Parliament cigarettes.
The Oregon based indie rock band is often lumped in with the hipster elite AKA people who wear skinny jeans, scarves and drink cheap bear because it's ironic. Anyway, many consider the Decemberists lyrics too cerebral for the general public, which is why they've only found niche fans amongst the "art school crowd". Artistic elitism or not, The Decemberists perfectly blended their musical style with the Cinematic Aesthetic of Wes Anderson's film, Rushmore in their music video for Sixteen Military Wives.
The entirety of this video/song is a scathing indictment of the Bush Administration and America's foreign policy. This serious subject takes on a hilarious tone when placed in the context of a private school's Model United Nations. Colin Maloy takes over for Jason Schwartzman, playing the Max Fischer-like main character, a power hungry student who uses his position as U.S. Representative to make a fellow student's life a living hell.
The most impressive thing about this music video is it's self contained story. Not a direct remake of Rushmore, this video leans on Anderson's visual style to give a playful framework for the song's political statements. It hits all of the right Wes Anderson notes too: the specific color palate, the wide angles and drastic zooms. The song itself could fit within the Anderson film universe, as the first few bars are reminiscent of musical themes in both Rusmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. With seemingly so much in common, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Decemberists on a Wes anderson movie soundtrack sometime down the road.
As mentioned in the last Cinematic Music Videos Blog, this month has been a bit of scheduling nightmare and I appreciate your patience. Things will return to some kind of normal next monday with a new Animated Monologue (Ani-Logue) as well as more video reviews and only one Cinmatic music video. Some more changes are definitely on the horizon, but we'll keep you updated as things develop-stay tuned.