Moonrise Kingdom and the Divine Symphony

“It’s the rhythm in rock music that summons the demons,” said the church community of my childhood. So I took my musical thrills where I could find them. In front of my grandfather’s turntable, I air-conducted Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” and Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”

In the latter, a narrator introduces each instrument and section, then the orchestra weaves those signature melodies into a symphonic harmony that left me breathless.

In the latest film from Wes Anderson World—Moonrise Kingdom—Britten’s orchestral guide becomes the central metaphor for the way the world should be. Through that lens, all of Anderson’s films (especially The Royal Tenenbaums) make more sense.

No American filmmaker—not even Woody Allen—has a more recognizable aesthetic or a stronger authorial voice, and this may be the most, well, Andersonian movie yet. His style recalls storybook illustrations, puppet shows, school-project dioramas, and community theatre productions. And in his out-of-tune communities, one rowdy musician—a somewhat holy fool — plays a theme that inspires the rest of the orchestra toward harmony. [Read more...]


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