Wes Anderson’s latest film has gone to the dogs, and gotten a warm reception at the Berlin Film Festival for it.
The filmmaker’s Isle of Dogs opened the festival on Thursday night (making it the first animated film to ever do so in the event’s 68 year history) where it was greeted by applause and praise from the audience and critics alike.
Anderson was joined by many of his usual collaborators, including Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman, along with newcomers to the Anderson family like Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig, Liev Schreiber, and 11-year-old Koyu Rankin.
“Most of the actors here are people who either I have worked with before or loved for years,“ said Anderson at a press conference earlier that day. It was clear that the rest of the cast and crew shared the same sentiment. “I’m all cranked up on chocolate and a little bit of champagne right now, so I’m going to say that being a voice with this group is a little bit like being in the We Are the World video,” added Murray. “These are some of the greatest voices of cinema.”
Anderson expressed that his interest in Japanese animation began even before his first go at stop-motion with 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. “There are two directors who are our inspirations. They are [Akira] Kurosawa and [Hayao] Miyazaki,” said Anderson. “[With] Miyazaki, you get nature and you get moments of peace, a kind of rhythm that is not in the American, for instance, animation tradition so much. That inspired us quite a lot.”
While Isle of Dogs still holds the same charm and principles as his former films, there’s no denying its strong political undertones. “It’s our fantasy of the politics of this made up place in Japan,” said Anderson. “But then, because we’ve been working on this movie for a long time, the world began to change the movie, and we all said, ‘That seems kind of right for the moment.’”
Isle of Dogs will make its way into theaters on March 23. Check out the film’s trailer above, and read on for more reactions to the film from Berlinale.