The French Dispatch, a love letter to journalism and one of the most anticipated films of this year was released last month. Wes Anderson’s tenth film, like many other movies set to be released last year, was pushed back until October 2021 to allow it a cinema release. Speaking for all Wes Anderson and cinema fans, thank god it was. 

The French Dispatch is a beautiful ode to journalists, and the world of magazine. It follows the story of The French Dispatch, a magazine that is written and published in France, owned and edited by Arthur Howitzer Jr (Bill Murray). Throughout the movie, we explore four stories and follow a new set of characters, that eventually ends in an article they have written for The French Dispatch. It dazzles with its soundtrack, and beautiful cinematography. As many know, when Wes Anderson comes to town…buildings get symmetrical. 

His style shines but in this film, he doesn’t always lean on the bright colour pallet and set. Unlike the Grand Budapest Hotel, which is a magical pastel dream, a lot of The French Dispatch is in black and white. A new melancholy falls on the film when the colour is stripped back, making it more than just a rainbow coloured comedy. It has layers, and many heart wrenching moments

Following the movie, an exhibition at the gallery space 180 Studios on the Strand was created. It is full of the movie’s paraphernalia, costumes, props and even parts of the sets. The French Dispatch is filled with an overwhelming amount of details and Easter eggs, making you wish you could rewind the movie just to see a certain shot again. It is the perfect film for movie and newspaper geeks, who leave the movie desperate to see it again. 

The exhibition is ideal for this reason, you can have a thorough and complete look at these real props straight out of the film.

Each room is dedicated to part of the movie and subsequently an article in The French Dispatch. The first has many props and parts of “Local Colour” and the “Obituary” section of the magazine. It includes Arthur Howitzer’s office desk, every part of it intricately made and displayed for visitors. One of the walls is ordained with different covers of The French Dispatch. As many can obviously tell by the movie itself and Anderson’s explanation, he took a huge inspiration from The New Yorker. “I always wanted to do a collection of short stories. The second thing I always wanted to do was to make a movie about The New Yorker,” says Anderson. The movie isn’t literally based on the magazine, but Anderson has voiced his love and appreciation for it “it was totally inspired by it.” 

As the exhibition continues, you enter the “Arts and Artists” section. It is an incredible section that displays the real art made for the film. From small portraits in the first hallway, to a wall of floor to ceiling paintings. During the film, Moses Rosenthaler  (Benicio Del Toro) paints them for Julien Cadazio (Adrien Brody) and his uncles. The paintings are made straight into the prison walls where Rosenthaler resides, driving the plot. Seeing all of these pieces in real life, immerses you into the movie. The bright colours of the paintings, contrasts the dark and dinghy “prison” that is made for the exhibition. It is a magical experience being transported into a movie like this one.

Leaving this section, you then enter “Tastes And Smells” and “Politics/Poetry”. The props and paraphernalia in these sections are so meticulously made. Some of my favourite parts include the mini plane that is full of tiny figurines of the characters. The intricate details like this, make you appreciate the movie more and more. Walking further into “Politics/Poetry” the notebook Zeffirelli (Timothee Chalamet) writes his manifesto in, has been recreated to have Timothee’s real handwriting and ideas that he included. 

Finally, as the exhibition comes to an end, you get to have coffee and pastries in Le Sans Blague Café just like the rebels do in the film. The café is a quirky yellow colour with chequerboard tiles, making you really feel like you’re in France. Drinking your strong, freshly made coffee to the soundtrack of Jarvis Cocker’s “Aline” transports you into a beautiful daze. It is a lovely end to the exhibition and the pastries are incredible!

From bright neon signs, to paint spattered clothing, the exhibition encapsulates the movie in every way possible and honours it perfectly. I thoroughly recommend seeing the film then dashing to the exhibition before the 28th of November when it comes to an end.