Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind, Paris, Texas... Wes Anderson gives us the references of Asteroid City

Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind, Paris, Texas… Wes Anderson gives us the references of Asteroid City

Here are the films and books that inspired Wes Anderson for this choral work, to be seen again this evening on Canal +.

Set in 1955 America, Asteroid City begins like a mise en abyme: a playwright writes his new play and, before the eyes of the spectator, actors and a narrator give life to this story which is embodied on the screen. The play in question, Asteroid City, takes place in the desert of the American West. Students and parents from all states gather in this hamlet for Asteroid Day. Everyone hopes to win the scholarship awarded to the winner of a scientific competition. But the demonstration is brutally disrupted by a global event…

Visibly in full Andersonian mode, the filmmaker multiplies the plastically sublime vignettes, the kitsch retro settings, the ultra-symmetrical frames and above all the references to the theater and cinema of the time. To try to better understand this grand style homage to classic Hollywood and fifties theater, we asked the filmmaker and his collaborators the films (and book) that informed this eleventh feature film.

Here is the list:

A man passed by John Sturges (1955)

With : Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan.

Summary : For the first time in four years, a train stops at Black Rock, a town lost in the middle of the desert. The visitor, John J. Macreedy (who has an arm amputated), questions the few residents he meets about how to get to a nearby place: Adobe Flat. The mention of this place associated with this totally unexpected visit generates strong aggression from the local population. The more Macreedy tries to understand and asks questions, the more threatening the population becomes.

The Petrified Forest by Archie Mayo (1936)

With : Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Genevieve Tobin

Summary : In the desert region of Petrified Forest National Park, travel writer Alan Squier stops at a small gas station. He meets the young and pretty Gabrielle who dreams of going to France. But their romance is short-lived: the irruption of a lawless gangster will turn everything upside down.

Bus stop by Joshua Logan (1956)

With : Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, Arthur O’Connell

Summary : A young cowboy, participating in the Phoenix rodeo, meets a cabaret singer on the bus. Falling in love with Beauty, he will do everything to make her leave her ranch and the man with whom she is to marry…

Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders (1984)

With : Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Hunter Carson

Summary : A man suddenly reappears after four years of wandering, a period during which he gives no explanation to his brother who came to find him. They leave for Los Angeles to recover the son of the former missing person, with whom he goes to Texas in search of Jane, the child’s mother. A quest towards the unknown, a mutual discovery brings together these two beings with tormented pasts.

picnic by Joshua Logan (1955)

With : Kim Novak, William Holden, Susan Strasberg

Summary : A man falls in love with his best friend’s fiancée during a picnic.

New York-Miami by Frank Capra (1934)

With : Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Ward Bond

Summary : Ellie flees her millionaire father and decides to go to New York. On the way, she meets Pete, a journalist, on the bus, who quickly understands who she is, her father having promised a reward to anyone who brings her back to him. Little by little, as money begins to run out and they continue to hitchhike away, Ellie gets to know Pete better.

Encounter of the 3rd type by Steven Spielberg (1977)

With : Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr

Summary: In Indiana, while a power outage paralyzes the suburbs, Roy Neary, a cable repairman, sees a flying saucer pass over his car. Trying to find out where these UFOs come from, Roy Neary comes up against the silence instructions imposed by the federal government. Obsessed by what he saw and haunted by an image of a mountain that he desperately tries to reconstruct, he is abandoned by his wife and children. An international commission led by the French scholar Claude Lacombe is trying to unravel the mystery.

Kiss me stupid! by Billy Wilder (1964)

With : Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston.

Summary : Dino, a charming singer on the comeback, crashes his car in a small town in Nevada. Piano teacher Orville Spooner welcomes him and would like to let him hear his songs. He decides to move his wife away to replace her by hiring Polly, a waitress in a bar and trainer in her spare time. Dino can therefore seduce the presumed wife, without harming Orville’s marital happiness. But nothing goes as planned…

Like a torrent by Vincente Minnelli (1958)

With : Shirley McLaine, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra

Summary : Dave Hirsh, discharged from the army, is a disillusioned author and an inveterate reveler. He arrives one fine morning by bus to Parkman, his hometown in Indiana. He is followed by Ginnie Moorehead, a girl he barely remembers, a relic of his well-soaked evening the day before. Dave reunites with his older brother Frank, and falls in love with Gwen French, a literature professor who is as attractive as she is strict…

The Unhinged by John Huston (1961)

With : Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift

Summary : 1950s, Reno, Nevada, capital of the marriage and slot machine industry.
A young divorcee befriends a group of misfits that include an aging cowboy, a heartbroken mechanic, and a time-worn rodeo rider.
The small group goes hunting for the wild mustang…

Other Men’s Women by William Wellman (1931)

With : James Cagney, Mary Astor, Grant Withers…

Summary : Bill and Jack have been friends for a long time. Bill is the seducer, Jack, the faithful husband. Until the day Bill comes to live with Jack and falls in love with his wife Lily.

In addition to these 11 films, Wes Anderson added two entries. A name : Chuck Jones, the star cartoonist of Warner Bros. to whom we owe Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Pepe le Pew. And a book: The Moss Hart Book, Act One, autobiography of a great American playwright published in 1959.

Wes Anderson: “I like this idea of ​​a troupe. We all had dinner together in the middle of a desert, it was great!”

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