This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on May 8, 2023 - May 14, 2023
The mundane and the ordinary are getting a Wes Anderson-style makeover over social media, particularly on TikTok, with users posting snippets of their everyday lives in the American filmmaker’s eccentric, distinctive aesthetics.
Short videos flooding TikTok and Instagram — many of which have drawn tens of thousands of views each — showcase snapshots of daily experiences that are meticulously edited to reflect Anderson’s unique colour sensibilities, symmetrical editing and an overall sense of whimsy.
The trend is believed to have been sparked by Ava Williams (@avawillyums), a 26-year-old photographer from Brooklyn, when she uploaded a TikTok video — turned into a 20-second movie with Alexandre Desplat’s background score Obituary — of a train ride from Connecticut to New York last month.
Williams told Newsweek she was inspired to edit the video in the auteur’s signature style — by giving it a dreamy and nostalgic atmosphere — after watching The French Dispatch, which was released in 2021.
According to The New York Times, the video posted on April 8 of her early morning journey on the Shore Line East has been viewed more than 12 million times.
Since then, the trend, which Williams labelled “You better not be acting like you’re in a Wes Anderson film”, has been copied by many TikTok users, with millions watching videos tagged with #wesandersontrend.
Kirsty Wark, presenter of the BBC’s current affairs show Newsnight, jumped on the trend and appeared in a sketch titled The Life Journalistic with Kirsty Wark, based on Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which showed her going about her day as a news anchor, presented in the director’s idiosyncratic cinematography style and to a jaunty background score.
Plenty of articles and social media posts with pointers on how to make Anderson-esque videos have also popped up to ensure novices attempting to mimic the director’s hallmark style, such as the use of pastel colour palettes and his vintage flair, get it right.
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