If good low-cost meals and wine have been all over the place in these late ‘70s days, magnificence additionally overflowed: the extensive brilliant sky on the banks of the Seine, the low-slung bridges with their delicate fulcrums, the golden domes and verdigris statuary, the streets that beckoned and the boulevards that summoned, the overflowing markets and the islands pointing their prows on the river. Paris appeared unreasonably beneficiant.
This French generosity is alluded to in “The French Dispatch” with a wistful longing by Roebuck Wright (performed by Jeffrey Wright and loosely modeled on James Baldwin and A.J. Liebling), who seems within the fourth and final of the quick episodes that make up the film. He began, as he tells Howitzer, in “fires and murders,” however has moved on to the intrigues of gastronomy. He embarks on an investigation of the desk of the chief of the municipal police, whose chef, Mr. Nescaffier (Steve Park), has earned a sure renown together with his Blasé metropolis park pigeon hash, amongst different delicacies.
Journalism will be lonely, however Wright describes how invariably, on some French, avenue he would discover “a desk set for me” with its bottle of wine — “my solitary feast, my comrade.” France has modernized, in fact, but it surely has additionally resisted the brand-obsessed homogenization of Anglophone nations. The consolation of that desk, and the solicitous service tended to it, stay one thing accessible throughout France, as distinct because the unctuous but mineral perfection of a Gillardeau oyster.
Nescaffier, the chef, is poisoned because the police chief tries to free his kidnapped son. On his restoration, in an exquisite scene, he describes with rapture the flavour of the poisonous salts within the radishes — milky, peppery, spicy, not fully disagreeable. “A brand new taste! A uncommon factor at my age!” he explains, with corpses strewn about.
Whether or not the extremely stylized, risibly mannered goings-on in Ennui-sur-Blasé are a mocking pastiche of what Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin and numerous others discovered within the movable feast of France, or a Francophile director’s loving paean to that custom, is a type of riddles that Anderson likes to play with. “I supply the movie to France with admiration and respect and a bit of envy,” he stated. Maybe that was a clue.
France clearly has an emotional maintain on the director. It was the French epicure Brillat-Savarin who famous: “I’ve drawn the next inference, that the boundaries of enjoyment are as but neither recognized nor fastened.” In meals, as in love. When, within the second story of the film, the imprisoned painter Moses Rosenthaler (performed by Benicio del Toro) makes like to his jail guard and mannequin, recognized solely as Simone (Léa Seydoux), he murmurs to her “I like you.”