Known for his distinctive style and quirky characters, Wes Anderson’s 2013 short, Castello Cavalcanti, uses camera movement to create a rich world from the limited set.
Set in 1955 Italy, a Formula One driver, Jed Cavalcanti (Jason Schwartzman), crashes in a small town and uncovers a series of small surprises through his interactions with the townspeople. Though fairly narrow in the narrative department, Anderson’s short, through the use of camera movement, creates a rich, character-filled world. Directed by Wes Anderson, and written by Anderson and Roman Coppola, Castello Cavalcanti’s cast weaves a brief yet playful narrative.
Panning creates a feeling of inclusiveness and fluid movement, as though the viewer is allowed to trace the action as if they were naturally scanning their own world, resulting in a feeling of controlled freedom. Rather than panning slowly, through quick panning there is an increase in energy, keeping the narrative moving along and grabbing the attention of the audience through fast-paced visual shifts.
The camerawork, beyond using panning techniques, includes a variety of depths, allowing for an exploration of varying depths of field that creates a rich world, in spite of the limited physical space. Similar to a staged theater set, it easily conveys an entire fully fleshed world, though small in design. The rich jewel-toned set and fantastic comedic timing add the characteristic Anderson flair to what could have been a limited plot.
The drama and flair of Castello Cavalcanti create a world unto itself, reminiscent of another era and lifestyle, exploring the romanticism of a town left outside time.