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Short Films by Wes Anderson

There aren’t many directors one can identify simply by looking at a brief clip of his or her work. Alfred Hitchcock comes to mind; so do Michelangelo Antonioni and Jean-Luc Godard. Their films, constructed wholly on their own terms, create singular, unmistakable worlds. In America today, there is at least one director who does this too: Wes Anderson.

Whether Anderson is telling the story of a family struggling with ghosts of its past and future (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited), portraying the absurdist adventures of a Cousteau-like adventurer (The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou), or, as in, Moonrise Kingdom, presenting a tale of twisted innocence, his work is impossible to mistake.

Before Wes Anderson made his first full-length film, Bottle Rocket, the quirky auteur’s plot-line was auditioned in a short he directed in 1992. Co-written with Owen Wilson, the earlier film, also called Bottle Rocket, was a skeleton of their later feature. It’s a heist film, of sorts, but with low-stakes and an offhand narrative styling that keeps it comic and fun. Brothers Owen and Luke Wilson star as partners in crime, and their on-screen sibling chemistry is recognizable from the get-go.

Castello Cavalcanti is a short film written and directed by Wes Anderson and released in 2013. Starring Jason Schwartzman as an unsuccessful race car driver who crashes his car in an Italian village, the 8-minute film was filmed at Cinecittà in Rome, Italy and financed by Prada. It debuted at the Rome Film Festival and was released online on November 13, 2013.

Hotel Chevalier, starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman as former lovers who reunite in a Paris hotel room, is a 13-minute film that acts as a prologue to Anderson’s 2007 feature The Darjeeling Limited. It was shot on location in a Parisian hotel by a small crew and self-financed by Anderson, who initially intended it to be a stand-alone work.