Wes Anderson and Symmetry

The feeling of satisfaction bubbling in your chest that you cannot quite put the name of while watching his movies, or can you?

Every artist has a signature touch on their works that help engrave their name into our minds and recognize their handwork when we come across one of their products without needing to check who was the work done by. This little addition of character can even be considered the cherry on top of what makes art, art. Movies, an important medium that holds the power to cater to everyone and touch their lives, carry so many touches hidden by their directors just like every other form of art created.

For Christopher Nolan, this would be the ever illusional barrel rolls and Spike Lee's floating shots make us recognize his work at one glance. While Quentin Tarantino's would be the trunk shots he uses almost all the time, there are also his infamous feet shots that unfortunately also give us the hint of his signature. Alfred Hitchcock makes us recognize his work with the way he distorts the perspective in dolly zooms, which also can be referred to as the 'Hitchcock' zooms. And when it comes to Wes Anderson, the answer would definitely be symmetry for many people.

Director of many famous movies like Isle of Dogs(2018), The Grand Budapest Hotel(2014), The Royal Tenenbaums(2001), and Fantastic Mr. Fox(2009), Wes Anderson greets his audience with symmetry throughout the whole movie; giving the viewer a taste of visual satisfaction that even feels inexplicable at first. Turning his signature into his whole aesthetic and complementing it with the use of his specific color palette he presents us with chaos portrayed on tidy windows.  Simple symmetry is achieved by shooting subjects straight on, reminiscent of a painting instead of a three-dimensional film, and that’s how he and his narrative tendencies like it.

Anderson's love of symmetry, like his other favorite stylistic choices, reflects his preference for formalism over realism in the movies he directs. His methods work together to serve the function of reminding those who are watching one of his movies that they are watching a movie that was crafted by real people. Even the way he employs stop-motion animation and miniatures in his live-action films attracts attention to what's happening onscreen in a way that realistic CGI would not.