Today marks the end of (7) Days of Wes Anderson, and there’s something bitter-sweet in admitting the sense of relief that comes with it. Although I still enjoy his work just the same, there’s something off putting about dissecting a film from beginning to end. We become so aware of its technical aspects and try to name every element to the point where it stops being about the film and, in turn, it stops being about the story. There is beauty in becoming part of the plot and emotionally invested in characters, just as there is a beauty in the ephemeral quality of the world that we choose to live in for at least an hour and thirty minutes. In analysing the film’s worth as a work of art, it’s easy to forget to appreciate it as one.
Yes, there are practical perks on learning to think objectively and being able to offer unbiased judgements that go beyond your first impressions of a film. However, if I’ve one lesson to share with aspiring film critics, it’s this: Watching it once is not enough. Watch it twice, or even thrice. Don’t fret over camera angles or scene composition from the start, devote your first viewing to the story. Take off your thinking cap, sit back and enjoy. This way, not only do you get a feel of it and the emotional response it evokes, but if there happened to be any technical element that particularly stood out, you’d be quick to pick up on it.
The amount of detail and time devoted to planning a film alone is often undermined, and the decisions that screenwriters and directors have to make are taken for granted. Learning to see them from different perspectives gives you an appreciation for the thought that was put into it. I don’t intend to take apart any more of Anderson’s work any time soon, but I can re-watch any of his films in peace, knowing that I can appreciate them for what they are while also being able to hold a substantial conversation about their aesthetic values and the stylistic choices exclusive to them.