Written by Matt Zoller Seitz
Matt Zoller Seitz is the TV critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism.
A Brooklyn-based writer and filmmaker, Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image and The L Magazine, among other outlets. His five part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was later spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection.
The book is about every film directed by Wes Anderson, up until Moonrise Kingdom. Zoller Seitz starts every chapter with an essay about the film which is followed up by a long interview with the director. The essays and interviews are accompanied by on-set photographs, hand-drawn storyboards, stills from films, sketches, et cetera. It provides rich insight into the work of a great filmmaker.
Anderson talks about coming up with ideas for films, working with cast members, scouting locations, inspiration and the meaning of his films—although Matt Zoller Seitz seems to see more in his films than the director himself. Now and then the writer seems to talk and suggest more than Anderson, which you could find annoying while reading the book, but he makes up for it nonetheless.
Wes Anderson is a great filmmaker and an inspiring person. It's wonderful to read about how his films came to be: from building the set of The Darjeeling Limited on an actual train, to how they found the perfect house for The Royal Tenenbaums and the creation of the puppets for Fantastic Mr. Fox. Reading the book makes you want to re-watch every film he’s made.
Max Dalton captures the atmosphere of Anderson’s work perfectly by illustrating in a way that suits Anderson’s style very well. The book actually feels like a Wes Anderson film seen from the set. With its 4.4 pounds it’s a perfect coffee table book.