We next see the brothers entering a new environment as they bring the boys back home to their village. The brothers are no longer dominating the scene as before. We first see the location before we see the brothers enter the frame, as they do they become immersed in the activity of the community as villagers and livestock share an almost equal place in the frame. The brothers’ personalities are muted, they become another part of a larger whole in a way, even as their attire and our familiarity with them marks them as distinct from the rest. It’s the body of the dead boy which is the most prominent object in the frame as he is carried in by Peter. The boy holding his hand pushes Francis and Jack a little more into the background where they don’t hold the same weight in the frame as they once did. The hold between the boy and his dead friend also gives us some measure of a bond to which the brothers might aspire, but which has eluded them.
When they reach the village proper, Peter hands over the boy to his father. At first it appears that the father may react harshly to Peter, but it is sorrow which dominates as the father begins to mourn the loss of his son. It also seems that perhaps Peter is expecting or even looking for some recrimination, or to take on even more of the burden of the boys death himself. As Francis looks with concern at Peter, another local man signals to Jack and the others to follow him after the father has left. The brothers retreat further into the life of the village.
It’s interesting how Anderson has them reenter community by entering to balance the frame against that herd of goats. And how the boys’ blues blend in with the brothers’ greys, while the rest of the people of the town are most dressed either in whites or in more vivid colors.
Yes, it’s not just a change in emotional tone, but in look for the film as well, even as it maintains some of the basic color patterns it has already established. Oh, and I forgot to note that now all three of the brothers sport injuries of some sort, Jack from running into the glass door on the train, Francis from the beginning, and now Peter from the river.
“forgot to note that now all three of the brothers sport injuries of some sort”
Ah, yeah, I meant to mention that as well.
Also wanted to mention that this is the part of the film that seems to me most clearly influenced by Renoir’s The River (which, aside from how it actually serves the story, is probably part of the reason for the change in palette).
Greg – Their rather excessive or even absurd actions earlier when they were only concerned with themselves is shown to not hold when they are faced with an external crisis as they have no inhibitions about acting immediately to help the boys, even at the risk of their own lives.
Thanks for the continuing analysis, Greg. I thought the scene with the three young boys (obviously paralleling the brothers, as noted) was a key to a change in the film. The brothers now seem to be a bit less self-involved and more altruistic – able to see outside themselves. In this sense, it seems they may be finally getting into a more spiritual, less self-centered state – which is the whole point of the journey to India. I think this perhaps new-found spirituality will come into focus in the key scenes with the mother to come. I look forward to reading your analysis, Greg (and the comments from Matt and others, too), on the brothers confrontation with their mother (which I re-watched before returning the film).
Also, the death of the one boy means a rather sudden break from the comic tone that has predominated up until now. In fact, this unexpected death is quite jarring in the course of a film that has seemed rather light-hearted (although not really, when seen in Greg’s more detailed examinations, which get underneath the surface glitter, revealing a perhaps darker core).
One of the consequences of Anderson generally giving his characters wealth and freedom from material concerns is that it serves to remove the ground from under them in a way as they don’t have to struggle for physical needs allowing or even forcing them to invest more of their energies into their inner conflicts. With that, however, Anderson’s films often then add an event that brings that freedom into question or provides a ground or base from which the main characters actions can be measured. I think that is something of the case here and explains the outward shift in tone. The brothers have been so wrapped up in their own concerns that when “reality” intrudes it recalibrates their perception to some degree.
Right, and, beyond the general concern for another human life that anyone (or most anyone, anyhow) would have, the manner is which it resonates with what they’ve been concerned to up to this point is interesting. It’s perhaps most obvious for Peter, who’s trying to work out what his relationship to his expected child will be. It’s even pretty immediate for Francis, who’s probably still very much considering his own mortality recovering from injuries associated with a failed suicide attempt. For Jack it’s a little more vague.
alright I’m up to DL in my re-discovery of wes anderson.
this man is soooooo fun to watch. I don’t know how I missed out on his greatness the first time around.
DL is chock full of hilarious quotes. it’s not as good as Life Aquatic or Bottle Rocket (yea my fave).
looking forward to back reading through this thread. have had it bookmarked for a while.
owen wilson is so damn funny in this.
“We’re in an emergency here, I got my face smashed in, Jack’s heart has been ripped to shred and Ruby’s having a child! Let’s get into it."
edit- I hope there some discussion about the mother character. no idea what to make of her or that no dialogue scene.
Any idea if Greg is going to continue this analysis, at some point? Reminded of this fine thread when reading Flani’s recent detailed, screen-capture take on Zerkalo.
We need to know more re the mother character, Greg and Matt! We need more something and less nothing on mubi…
Yes, I was wondering about that too. Hopefully Greg will return soon.
OK, slow forum people. Here was one of the most fascinating threads to ever hit these Mubi parts. Too bad my own detailed memory of the film is fading fast. This thread does show the potential of the forum to explore a film in detail – like Greg does so well. Fit in with the Moonrise Kingdom thread made when that film came out last year, and we were all talking about Wes Anderson. Much more than Something out of Nothing.
There’s gold in them there Mubi hills, folks. You just need to find it – on those oh so s-l-o-w days! (But, things may already be picking up).
This was a really cool thread. The problem I had was that I got behind in the discussion and I couldn’t catch up. Also, the pages took a long time to load. But, again, this was a really terrific thread.
this thread made me a fan of the film!! great stuff greg and matt!
Good bump, E. Maybe we can convince Greg to pick this back up?
Has it really been 8 months since the last posting on this? Yeesh. I’ve thought about finishing it, but was torn over the idea since the effort to response ratio wasn’t all that great and it is time consuming. I mean I left off at about the half way mark, so there is a lot more film left to cover, though it might have gone a little faster since most of the establishing elements have been taken care of, which leaves the second half to deal more with how those elements are retaken up and resolved. All in all I’m ambivalent about finishing, especially now that Flani’s gone since that takes away one of the few people who were responding. (Not that the rest of you are chopped liver or anything, but still…)
@Greg or anyone else,
I don’t know if this is possible, but could someone sum up some of the observations made so far? I think this might be a way to invite people in (and I admit, it might be something that would encourage me, too). I realize this might require too much time and effort, so I understand if this unfeasible.
If you do plan to give this a go, Greg, do you know when you might do this? I might try to see if I can re-watch the film so it can be fresh in my mind.
Not sure I could sum everything up really, besides, at this point it should be clear that concision isn’t really a strong suit of mine anyway. If someone else wants to give it a try though I certainly wouldn’t object.