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The Darjeeling Limited


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#1 Daniel Katz

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 06:30 PM

I just saw this film yesterday. Lots of great touches but I think Wes Anderson needs to reinvent himeslf or he will be remembered as a one trick pony. Anyway, his films obviously have a very distinctive style lensed by Robert Yeoman but I am interested who does the operating. Is it Yeoman himself? Imdb lists Manuel Billeter as the New York operator. There are a number of extremely precise whip pans and some tilts of usually 90 degrees that land on perfect compositions and it seems that they could only be done with a geared head. I have some experience with geared heads and I'm just wondering what technique the operator may have used to to achieve such precise moves. Thanks in advance.
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 07:06 PM

The only review I've heard about it was from the "(blank) & Roeper" show. The non-Roeper guy made a good point that it's as if Anderson is now able to do a good parody of his own work. Where if you're so familiar with his previous films, this one will just be more of the same and not too impressive.

I for one love the style, and am excited to see the film. But I can see how he would form that sort of opinion.

I seem to recall Yeoman doing the operating himself in the DVD extras of "The Life Aquatic", have a look at those 'making-ofs' and it'll probably answer your question.
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#3 Logan Schneider

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 05:27 PM

With a geared head you can count the rotations of the wheels in order to return to the same frame, allowing precise finishes. For example, 2 and 1/2 wheel turns when he stands up...
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#4 Daniel Katz

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 06:17 PM

With a geared head you can count the rotations of the wheels in order to return to the same frame, allowing precise finishes. For example, 2 and 1/2 wheel turns when he stands up...



I am aware of this, but it was the speed at which the moves were executed that had me wondering if something else was at play? Did you see the film?
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#5 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 05:26 PM

Yeoman did operate the India stuff, as in some production stills you can see him sitting on the dolly on camera. I really liked both this and the prelude piece "Hotel Chevalier". The rich tones and anamorphic(was it?) framing really went hand in hand with the scenery. Maybe I'm just a fan of Anderson.
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#6 Lars Zemskih

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 08:03 PM

I think people say that he should reinvent himself only because he has a very very distinct style. I think though film for some reason is one of the only artforms that many expect for the artist to be different each time. We don't tell a painter that he should reinvent himself, no, because they all have a certain way they draw. Same goes with film, Wes Anderson just does something that is true to himself, what should he do? Do something that he is not comfortable with doing, that is not true to himself?

This is the same reason people bash Woody Allen for example. I just don't get it, why can't everyone accept that there can be directors that just do certain types of films. I think directors who can film whatever comes their way are not that true artists.
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#7 Erik Horn

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 04:58 PM

I seem to recall Yeoman doing the operating himself in the DVD extras of "The Life Aquatic", have a look at those 'making-ofs' and it'll probably answer your question.

I was watching that just the other day (I'm a huge anderson/yeoman nerd) and yeoman does operate the camera himeself, atleast for the most part. his composition, pans, dollywork, lighitng, and colours never sease to amaze me.

Edited by Erik Horn, 10 October 2007 - 04:59 PM.

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#8 Douglas Wilkinson

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 07:32 PM

(I'm a huge anderson/yeoman nerd)


I hear that.
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#9 Daniel Katz

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 09:37 PM

I think people say that he should reinvent himself only because he has a very very distinct style. I think though film for some reason is one of the only artforms that many expect for the artist to be different each time. We don't tell a painter that he should reinvent himself, no, because they all have a certain way they draw. Same goes with film, Wes Anderson just does something that is true to himself, what should he do? Do something that he is not comfortable with doing, that is not true to himself?

This is the same reason people bash Woody Allen for example. I just don't get it, why can't everyone accept that there can be directors that just do certain types of films. I think directors who can film whatever comes their way are not that true artists.



You bring up some very interesting points Emile. Although I made the original re-invention comment I do understand the other side of the argument and have used it myself. When Anderson made Bottle Rocket ( which is still my favourite of his oeuvre) and subsequently Rushmore and the Royal Tenembaums I felt that he was a new voice in cinema, fresh, uncomprimising, who had an incredible ability to balance whimsy and humor with pathos and melancoly. He was in an extremely rare position to make the films that he wanted to make, essentially in a studio enviroment ( after Bottle Rocket ), even though his films made no money. He is now one of the few prestige directors working today that the studio will keep giviing money to much like a patron of the arts did in Renaissance times. But he is operating in the spectrum of what is considered popular culture and it is a ruthless enviroment that has the power to swallow up anything original and innovative and quickly turn it into a quantifiable commodity. This is the fate that any artist working in the realm of popular culture faces and it cannot be avoided. The film industry is littered with original voices that have struggled to re-invent themselves when their particular brand of filmaking goes out of style. The first Matrix is a perfect example of something completely unique and interesting turning sour in its follow-up incarnations. What was cult and in the vanguard quickly became mainstream, bloated and cumbersome. I guess it was The Life Aquatic that made me slightly re-evaluate my thinking on Anderson. It just felt like his work and insights had not matured and that he was falling back on his self created cliches and that The Darjeeling Limited was a continuation of that trend. It feels like Anderson is now transposing the exact same themes and motifs from his other films and simply giving them a new setting without any greater insights. Of course any film director that could reasonably be called an auteur is essentially making the same film over and over again but the idea is to refine the approach and to draw illumination from your earlier work. I just feel in terms of The Life Aquatic and The Darjeeling Limited that they were a step backwards. There are filmakers working right now like Bruno Dumont or Gaspar Noe that understand that in order to keep their work vital that they have to continually re-invent themselves and that means deep down that as directors they are ultimately directing themselves. Their life is their art, their art is their life. While I would still go see an Anderson film in the cinema over ninety percent of the dross that is out their I would not put him in the upper echelon of auteurs working today....Haneke, Dumont, Noe, Kiorastami, The Dardennes, Denis, Anh Hung Tran....I would even classify people like Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson above Wes Anderson in terms of pure artistry.
You argue that what Anderson is doing is simply true to himself, but that in itself is a very slippery notion. If great filmaking was as simple as being true to oneself ( I am not exactly sure what that means anyway ) then it would seem that their is a very simple formula, out there, just waiting to be grasped by anyone. We know this not to be the case.
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#10 Douglas Wilkinson

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 10:11 PM

I think the greatest achievement for Anderson would be to preserve his voice, but expand his thinking. I have no problem with his voice, which is a sort of whimsical precision that can be profoundly charming for the viewer. Conceptually, though, he does seem a bit stuck. A bit like a thoroughbred running circles in his stable.

But, yeah, I'd watch paint dry if he filmed it. I'm a sucker.

Son of a bitch, I'm sick of these dolphins.
-Zissou
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 12:47 AM

Just got back from seeing it. Whereas I did enjoy it, I have to agree that the style of framing and whip pans got a little tiresome, already being very similar with Anderson's style.

I also kind of feel that anamorphic might not have been the right format to do this film in. The storyline was kind of awkward and claustrophobic, and a tighter frame might have helped a bit. There's also the issue of things being a bit tooooo choreographed and taking the reality out of the situations that made me not enjoy this film as much as his previous ones.

I still liked it, it engaged me emotionally, and it also seemed Anderson is trying more and more to channel some of the European filmmakers of yesteryear (namely Truffaut) when it comes to his way of structuring the story and character arch.
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#12 Bill Totolo

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 12:59 PM

Just got back from seeing it. Whereas I did enjoy it, I have to agree that the style of framing and whip pans got a little tiresome, already being very similar with Anderson's style.

I also kind of feel that anamorphic might not have been the right format to do this film in. The storyline was kind of awkward and claustrophobic, and a tighter frame might have helped a bit. There's also the issue of things being a bit tooooo choreographed and taking the reality out of the situations that made me not enjoy this film as much as his previous ones.

I still liked it, it engaged me emotionally, and it also seemed Anderson is trying more and more to channel some of the European filmmakers of yesteryear (namely Truffaut) when it comes to his way of structuring the story and character arch.


Does anyone have info on what lenses were used on this film? Thanks.
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