Last week, I watched Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel in Greenbelt, Makati. It was the kind of film I felt deserved to be seen on the big screen, and besides, I was too impatient to wait for the torrents to be made available online (I found out that they released the torrent the same week they released it theatrically).
I am no film critic, but I loved The Grand Budapest. It was distinctively Anderson – the stylized sets and cinematography, recurring cast, complex and layered plots, and young love. The film stars Anderson staples Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Willem Defoe, and Jason Schwartzman, with the addition of Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H. and Tony Revolori as Zero Moustafa.
To give a brief background on the film, The Grand Budapest Hotel is about Gustave H., the concierge of the titular hotel. He is known as a ladies man, notorious for bedding the female guests who apparently book a room to enjoy his company. He takes on Zero, a new lobby boy as his protégé.
When one of his patrons, Madame Céline Villeneuve Desgoffe und Taxis (Madame D), played brilliantly by Tilda Swinton, dies, he is bequeathed with a priceless painting called Boy With Apple. He is accused of murdering her, and together with Zero, the two set out to prove his innocence.
The plot aside, what struck me the most about The Grand Budapest Hotel is the use of color and the general aesthetics of the film. I especially loved the facade of the Grand Budapest, and the rich purple Zero and the staff wear as their uniform.
Below, I try to reimagine the characters of the The Grand Budapest Hotel as furniture:
I imagine Tony Revolori’s Zero Moustafa as a purple sofa with a quilted back. It’s quiet, but the color and structure still stands out. And because of Zero’s quiet and submissive demeanor, he’s the kind of furniture you can sit on. But this boy and couch can shine.
I like the idea of putting a purple sofa in a rustic living room in white or gray. The brilliance of the color will stand out without overpowering the room.
Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H. is sturdy and strong, but he’s also smooth and classic. He’s like an antique writing desk with long, sinewy, and flirty legs. Plus the flower details on the drawer matches Gustave’s way with the ladies. Gustave H. is both reliable and charming.
It’s funny how Tilda Swinton’s Madame D only had a few minutes of screen time, but the whole story revolves around her murder. Even if she only spent a little time in The Grand Budapest, her presence was both fun and commanding. Kind of like those large ornate mirrors with wrought-iron gold frames. It’s the kind of thing that passes through your vision when you enter a room, but still establish its presence.
Adrien Brody plays Dmitri Desgoffe-und-Taxis, the son of Madame D. His character is dark and brooding, so I imagine him to be a black treated leather couch. Adrien Brody as an actor is dark and brooding, but his melancholia gives off an air of sexiness and sophistication, like a manly leather couch.
Willem Defoe’s character JG Jopling is Dmitri’s right-hand (and hitman). Jopling is not far from Defoe’s other roles: tired, wordly, but a little intimidating and creepy. Defoe’s role in The Grand Budapest is packed with action. He’s much like an end-table, simple butt packs a lot of punch. You can’t imagine how difficult it is to lounge around without a decent end table (and hitman).
Saoirse Ronan plays Agatha, Zero’s lover and a key figure in helping save Gustave H. Her role is sweet, innocent, and a little earthy, so I imagined Agatha to be a blue flower pot with a beautiful set of flowers. Stick her anywhere and let the sweetness overflow.
Boy With Apple is not a character per se, but he is based on a person and this painting sets off the events in The Grand Budapest. I imagine Boy With Apple as a four-poster bed. Rich, decadent, and classic. It’s a little frivolous to own a four-poster bed these days, but isn’t buying a valuable painting the same thing? However, we do it because it’s beautiful and adds character to any room.