French Dispatch, The: Wes Anderson’s Uneven Anthology Comedy, Love Letter to Journalism and the Written Word

Sharply uneven, The French Dispatch is an anthology comedy written, directed, and produced by Wes Anderson from a story he conceived with Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman.

 

Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch

The film features a large ensemble cast, composed of the best actors working today, many of whom affiliated with independent cinema.

The tale relates three storylines as the French foreign bureau of the fictional Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun newspaper creates its final issue.

The first segment, “The Concrete Masterpiece,” follows an incarcerated and unstable artist, and stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, and Léa Seydoux.

The second, “Revisions to a Manifesto”, is inspired by the May 68 student protests, and stars Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, and Lyna Khoudri.

“The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner” features Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, and Stephen Park, and centers on the kidnapping of a police commisioner’s son.

Bill Murray also stars as Arthur Howitzer Jr., the paper’s editor, while Owen Wilson appears in a short segment that introduces the fictional setting of Ennui-sur-Blasé.

The project was first mentioned in August 2018 as an untitled musical set after World War II. That December, the film was officially announced, with

Anderson calling it a “love letter to journalists.”

Shooting took place in early 2019 in the city of Angoulême, France. During post-production, editing was completed by Andrew Weisblum and the musical score was composed by Alexandre Desplat.

Following a delay from 2020, due to COVID-19, The French Dispatch had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Fest on July 12, 2021, and was theatrically released in the U.S. by Searchlight Pictures on October 22, 2021.

Thus far, the movie has grossed $41.7 million worldwide against a budget of $25 million.