The French Dispatch is an American comedy-drama film. The plot was based on a story written by Wes Andersen, who later became the director and screenwriter of the picture. The film is about an American fictional newspaper based in France.
The film premiered worldwide in the summer of 2021, at the 74th Cannes Film Festival. And in cinemas, viewers were able to see the picture only at the end of October. Both critics and ordinary viewers praised the film, praising the cast and the director’s approach to filming.
The plot of the movie
The film begins with the death of the editor-in-chief of The French Dispatch, Arthur Howitzer. According to his dying wish, the magazine publishes the last issue with an obituary and stops its work.
We are told how one of the newspaper’s employees, Erbsen Sazerac, decided to create an article about cycling around the city of Annouy-sur-Blaze. Its task is to show the most interesting and exciting places in this city. It shows how each of the places has changed over time. This report later became part of the last issue.
At this time, the rest of the editorial board is engaged in other matters. Berensen gives a lecture at a museum owned by her former employer. In her report, she talks about a strange artist who is currently behind bars. There he draws the same girl who is a prison guard. Gradually, they develop a relationship. After a series of incidents, the artist will become world famous.
Three years later, the artist has a creative crisis, and he can no longer write. But the frescoes that he painted in prison were found, so the whole room is being transported to the museum.
The next article talks about the movement of students – the chess revolution. Its result is a manifesto, which the members of the movement struggle to promote to the masses.
And a reporter named Royback Wright talks about how he was a witness to a crime. The son of the local police commissioner was kidnapped. Part of this story appears in the latest issue of The French Dispatch newspaper.
The meaning of the film
Every detail has a certain meaning in the film. So, by the appearance of the characters it is easy to determine their character. For example, journalist Sazerak wears colored socks with funny drawings, which speaks of his daydreaming and isolation from reality.
It is worth noting the importance of nature. The prison exhibition alone adds surrealism to the picture. But such techniques look favorably with realistic landscapes. Music makes the picture become more comfortable and sincere.
It can be said that there is no single plot in The French Dispatch. Within one story there are several separate stories. It does not focus on the work of a particular publication or newspapers in general, it is not the center of the plot. The director seems to idealize journalism, due to which the film as a whole came out quite light and romantic. This allows the picture to stand out from the background of other works that fixate on the real problems of real society. The film seems to have been created in order to immerse yourself in a kind of “fairy tale for adults” – a world where there are no problems, everything is bright and easy.
There is no need to look for any deep meaning in the plot of the film. Andersen goes through all the exciting topics very easily and without fanaticism, because each subplot is a separate story. If you think about it, the film has feminism, and student riots, and even the theme of racism. But they cannot cause someone’s anger or a violent reaction, because they pass through the film as a light subtopic. Similar examples can be found in many films of different years, but this is the beauty – each of the viewers, either in creativity or even in real life, faced such problems and archetypes.
The French Dispatch is a simple collection of ideas, thoughts and situations that seemed interesting or curious to the author of the picture. You should not delve into this movie when the creator himself did not want to. For him, as well as for the audience, the picture became an occasion to escape from reality, to bring a little brightness and irony into life. The film seems to be saturated with the atmosphere of French cinema, although it is not. Today, in times of such difficult world situations, The French Dispatch has become an excellent picture that allows you to relax and make everyday life more interesting.