Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Ride the nerd-train to Connection City!
In April 2005, I wrote a post on this blog comparing John Cassavetes' Husbands and Satyajit Ray's Days and Nights in the Forest. Two weeks ago, I watched Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited, and noticed that he used several pieces of music from Satyajit Ray's films. I also noticed, during the film's only flashback sequence, that the three leads (Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, and Owen Wilson) wore the exact same suits as the three leads in Cassavetes' Husbands (John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, and Peter Falk). In both films, these identical suits are worn in scenes that feature the three leads in the back of a limo going to a funeral. Doing some Internet research when I got home, I discovered that Anderson's major inspirations for his new film were Husbands, Satyajit Ray, and Jean Renoir's The River. The Renoir film was introduced to Anderson by Martin Scorsese. Anderson has become friendly with Scorsese in a master and apprentice sort of way and seeks out his career advice. Scorsese sought advice and friendship early in his career from Cassavetes. In addition to music from Satyajit Ray's and Merchant-Ivory's films, The Darjeeling Limited draws heavily from The Kinks' album Lola vs. Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One. This album contains the song, "Apeman," which my wife and I have decided is our song (as in "they're playing our song.") The album also contains the song, "Lola." A character in Husbands is named Leola. (That one's a stretch, I know.) Seymour Cassel is a frequent cast member in both Anderson's and Cassavetes' films, but he doesn't appear in either Husbands or The Darjeeling Limited. Wally Wolodarsky plays Owen Wilson's assistant in Darjeeling. In the early-to-mid-1990s, Wolodarsky was a writer and producer on "The Simpsons." The character of Apu on "The Simpsons" is named after the character of Apu in a trilogy of films by Satyajit Ray, music from which is on the soundtrack of Darjeeling. For more information, consult the Illuminati.

Visual aids (feel free to print out and connect with Magic Marker, or the writing utensil of your choice).

Picture these guys in the suits below (I can't find any stills from the flashback scene.)

(Days and Nights in the Forest, left, and The Darjeeling Limited)

The Two Apus:


Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that you never see Wes Anderson and John Cassavetes at the same place at the same time? Me neither.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that they haven't given you an honorary film degree yet.


steigrrr said...

i haven't seen the movie yet, because i think it just opened here. but i just watched charlie rose last night because wes anderson was on. (charlie rose, incidentally, is not such a good interviewer in my book. he talks way too much. so i get frustrated watching his show.)

anyway, you probably already know this, but anderson said in that interview that he made the movie, in part, because he wanted to learn more about india. and that he, jason schwartzman and roman coppola went on a pilgrimage/trek to india while they were writing the film and played out the roles of the characters about whom they were writing. what a life that guy has!

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