Wes Anderson lives at least part-time in Paris, a situation whose advantages include the ability to frequent JM Vidéo, one of the very few cinephile-oriented video-rental shops still in business. His apartment is on rue Daguerre, which would make it a bit of a trek — across the Seine and then some — to get there. Still, he made it out to JM to shoot the video above, the latest installment of a series from French Youtube channel Konbini in which famous auteurs (here on Open Culture, we’ve previously featured episodes staring David Cronenberg and Terry Gilliam) pick their favorites off the shelves. Anyone who’s seen Anderson’s work will have a sense of his love of movies, but seldom have we had the chance to see him speak so enthusiastically about them.
Anderson’s JM journey begins and ends in Japan. He calls Shōhei Imamura’s Vengeance Is Mine “a great, very long, sort of serial killer movie” and names Akira Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel as one source of music for his own animated film Isle of Dogs. There follow works from Luis Buñuel, Rouben Mamoulian (who seems to have been a particularly powerful fount of inspiration), musicals like The Pajama Game and Meet Me in St. Louis, and John Sturges’ Western Bad Day at Black Rock (whose title sequence he lifted for his latest picture, Asteroid City).
He also pulls out a series of French films: The Fire Within by Louis Malle, The Big Risk by Claude Sautet, Playtime by Jacques Tati, Vagabond by Agnès Varda (herself a onetime rue Daguerre resident), The Crime of Monsieur Lange by Jean Renoir, and The Man Who Loved Women by François Truffaut.
Other of Anderson’s selections involve his collaborators: his production designer Adam Stockhausen worked on Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies, his director of photography Robert Yeoman worked on Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy. Finding Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory prompts him to discuss his own upcoming Roald Dahl adaptation, a short film for Netflix (current owner of Dahl’s work) called The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Not long thereafter he comes around to the anime section, where he expresses his appreciation for Isao Takahata’s feature Only Yesterday and Hideaki Anno’s series Neon Genesis Evangelion. He imagines the possibility of “someone becoming a Neon Genesis Evangelion fanatic and making it their religion”; the fact that he hasn’t seen the actuality suggests that, however international his life and work have become, he has yet to spend time in Mexico.
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.