Echoes Of War Video Essay
I snobbishly assumed the essay to be a mere “mash-up”, a promotional trailer show, a simplistic appropriation of beloved shots, compositions, and musical interludes from the director’s distinctive canon – little did I know that the essay would address these issues head-on and completely dispel my initial doubts.
As I was watching, I realized that the essay did not aim for sheer surface-level enjoyment.
By consequence, the film’s form and affective quality are maintained, albeit in a different context.
(3) As a Wes Anderson aficionado, possessed (or plagued) by an inflated sense of cinephilia, I invariably felt a sense of unhealthy superiority towards the critic and his work.
Seitz’ video essay reframes the auteur’s canon in order to, for the Wes Anderson fan, de-familiarize and, for the uninitiated, personalize the viewing experience, thereby inviting both groups to partake in a discourse that opens the films to a projection of multiple personal impressions.
I thus see the video essayist as a media-literate Michel de Montaigne crossed with the cinephiliac DNA of a Quentin Tarantino or a Jean-Luc Godard, and equipped with an updated technological interface modeled on Alexandre Astruc’s century language, that of digital units, the affect of film.
Critics with an exceptional grasp of language know how to convey the power of the movies to their readers – and there is nothing more satisfying, for a cinephile, than to replay a film in one’s mind, guided by the rich prose of a competent critic, to relive a phenomenological experience, after the fact.
But this approach, though undeniably poetic and accomplished, also operates on a certain vagueness, a lack of explicitness.
Sequences, scenes, moments are filtered through the memory of the observer, the post-experiential process of a photo-camera (i.e. The moving image is resurrected, restored, and, thereby, reconfigured, removed from its formal framework, not necessarily neutralized, but certainly transformed, detached from its immediacy, realized as a (memory) fragment.