The bond between a sharp-minded editor and an emotionally overwrought writer is essential..
The bond between a sharp-minded editor and an emotionally overwrought writer is essential, but it’s even more intimate when the scribe is presenting his work while naked in a bathtub. In this exclusive clip from filmmaker Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, we meet Timothee Chalamet precocious revolutionary Zeffirelli and Frances McDormand’s stoic veteran journalist Lucinda Krementz.
Despite his mild shyness about his “new muscles,” there is clearly a comfort and familiarity between them. So, circa May 1968, what exactly is going on in this bathroom? Anderson confirms this.
This scene is from the second of the film’s three main stories, titled “Revisions to a Manifesto,” according to Anderson. “Mrs. McDormand is Lucinda Krementz, a French-born American journalist, and Monsieur Chalamet is Zeffirelli. Krementz is covering the student protests that have erupted because he is a student.”
The uprising in the fictional town of Ennui-sur-Blasé isn’t quite as powerful or noble as other civil rights demonstrations from the same era around the world. Anderson explains, “They started with the students’ insistence that male students be allowed to visit the girls’ dormitory.”
Timothee says “That was the spark that sparked the young activists in that sleepy town to action”
That was the spark that sparked the young activists in that sleepy town to action—but things have since broadened to include other issues, and a revolution is on the horizon. “It grew into a much larger protest, which is still going on,” Anderson says. The uprising provides fertile ground for The French Dispatch, the film’s anthology of stories, which is centred on the eponymous newspaper. Krementz has been assigned as the publication’s special correspondent, but she’s also taking a break from work to enjoy herself.
“Krementz is now having dinner at the home of her friends and neighbours, who happen to be the parents of one of the student leaders, Zeffirelli,” Anderson says.
And so she discovers him in the bathroom, and that’s the scene between the two of them,” he continues, adding that Zeffirelli probably knows her well already. “She is friends with his parents, but she is also a well-known writer.”
Naturally, the young man uses this opportunity to show Krementz his own thoughts on the revolution. Networking is important when you’re trying to change the world, even if you happen to be without clothes. “I think that gives you the basic situation that we find them in at that point,” Anderson says.
Of course, things soon veer drastically from: Mrs. Krementz, you’re trying to rewrite me…Aren’t you?
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