Wes Anderson Anderson (right) during Q&A [1]

Having seen the notice via Bostonist I went to last night’s screening of The Darjeeling Limited at the Brattle Theatre followed by a Q&A with Wes Anderson. They handed out twice as many tickets as seats, which meant queueing up early on a rainy evening, and ending up in the balcony and having some friends running late just miss getting in.

The film was opened with the Hotel Chevalier short. I found the “The Darjeeling Limited” very entertaining (although The Royal Tenenbaums remains my favorite of his) and the style is distinctly Anderson’s. The focus on detail, slow motion shots, great soundtrack, tragicomedy family issues and cast all feel familar.

After the film Wes Anderson, co-writer Roman Coppola, Waris Ahluwalia (who was awesome in Inside Man) took questions from the crowd. Jason Schwartzman was supposed to be there, but supposedly he broke his foot – ironic since he spends the entire film barefoot while running around India. Not surprisingly, most of the questions were directed at Anderson (with Ahluwalia hardly speaking). Asked about how they were received in India, he seems to have really fallen for the country and wrote much of the film while traveling there. Or, as he said in this New York Magazine interview,

“I guess we went to India as research,” says Anderson, “but the more precise-slash-romanticized description would be that we were trying to do the movie, trying to act it out. We were trying to be the movie before it existed.”

There were a couple film nerd questions about his being influenced by Jean Renior’s The River and what lens he used for wide angle shots (40mm anamorphic) , which led to a funny exchange about the difference between “Filmed in Panavision” (which he does) vs. “Panaflex by Panavision”. Someone asked about the meaning of his characters often being submerged in water and use of water, to which Anderson replied that The Life Aquatic certainly had a lot of water. Answers to questions about the creative process are often rather unsatisfying, since there is rarely a crisp reason for how a story developed or why a particular decision was made. The Q&A was about 40 minutes with the three having to leave for Philly later that night.

It was kind of the independent Brattle to host the free screening, and made me realize how few times I’ve been there. The host plugged a few upcoming films that will be shown there, like Lake of Fire, The Signal and Terror’s Advocate, that sounded interesting.

[1] I should have brought my real camera and not the point & shot, since it was rather dark. Oh well.