If you’ve yet to catch film director Wes Anderson's latest magnificently quirky creation, The Grand Budapest Hotel, you’re in for an eyeful of red elevators, purple uniforms, and elaborate gold and pink interiors, served up with jaw-dropping eccentricity, murder most foul, and controlled craziness.
Anderson’s madcap caper features a dazzling line-up of acting luminaries, as well as some eye-catching vintage Swarovski glamour. It’s set in the 1930s in a vast, cathedral-like hotel in a spa town in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, somewhere in Eastern Europe. Casts don’t usually come this stellar: for instance, we get the likes of Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, and Harvey Keitel rubbing shoulders with Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Tom Wilkinson and F. Murray Abraham—yes, they’re all in the same movie. And last, but certainly not least, Ralph Fiennes gives a sublime masterclass in deft comic timing as the pompous, vain, and charismatic concierge, M. Gustave, who lives to provide his guests with every service they could possibly dream of, and more besides.
The film follows the fortunes of Gustave’s friendship with a young employee (Tony Revolori) who becomes his trusted protégé. Its story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the battle for a hefty family fortune, and the upheavals that transformed Europe during the first half of the 20th century. With Anderson’s trademark use of high-color, dreamy cinematography, and mischievous magical realism (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, The Life Aquatic), the delicious result is a richly flavored confection of eye-candy that gives colorful context to some truly exquisite performances.
Anderson worked with Oscar-winning costume designer Milena Canonero, who helped bring to life the glorious grandeur of the fictional hotel, peopled by shady chancers and moneyed eccentrics, one of whom is octogenarian heiress Madame D, brilliantly played by Tilda Swinton.
With access to the Swarovski archives in Austria, Canonero was able to select from a suite of opulent vintage jewels, including earrings, brooches, bracelets and necklaces set with crystals and semi-precious stones such as pearls, emeralds and amethysts. These lent grandeur and authenticity to the film’s gorgeous costumes and its precise period production design.
Of course, Swarovski is no stranger to working closely with costume and set designers, having provided sparkle on stage and screen from the early days of Hollywood with spotlight-stealing jewels, costumes, props and sets. In recent years, you may have been dazzled by Swarovski shimmer in The Young Victoria, Black Swan, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Great Gatsby, as well as last year’s Romeo & Juliet, among others. This time, don’t allow anything to stop you checking into The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Photography Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.