Wes Anderson & Tom Tykwer both have their own distinct style in directing movies. They are able to create exciting, suspenseful and captivating moments. The result is that they are now well-known in American cinema and German cinema. In this essay, we will look at how both directors use a combination editing, audio, and cinematography methods to create different viewer experiences within two similar dramatic moments. The scenes that we will refer to are from The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014 and Run Lola Run 1999. In The Grand Budapest Hotel Gustave (the protagonist) and Zero (the antagonist) are travelling to Lutz by train when the officers try to arrest Zero as he’s a stateless person. In Run Lola Run Lola interrupts her father’s conversation with his co-worker who is having an extramarital affair. She aims a gun in his face and demands money with a manic tone. Use of continuity editing in order to emphasize expressive performances increases and prolongs tension.
Run Lola Run has a series close-up and medium shots which frame each character. The shot cuts between Lola’s father, her female co-worker and the security officer (who had just entered behind Lola). The shots quickly change, giving the audience a tense feeling. Although these edits extend the length of the scene, they create a feeling of speed and rhythm. Lola’s fingers are then shown in close-up. Slow motion magnifies the action and heightens tension. Lola pulling out the trigger is cut closely together with her father avoiding the bullets. Tykwer chooses to show each of these scenes in separate shots instead of showing them all at the same time to increase the intensity. The cuts are a little further apart after the gunshots have been fired, allowing viewers to gather themselves following a dramatic moment. This scene was edited to show a dramatic conflict in an understandable way. The rising intensity was also enhanced by the fact that the character’s facial expressions were still the main focus of each shot. This rhythmic editing was described as an important element in the movie’s energetic feel.
The Grand Budapest Hotel’s train scene uses editing to great effect, allowing the viewer follow the tension as it builds. The three main characters are highlighted in several ‘point-of-view shots’, which allow the viewer the opportunity to see their nervous expressions. Anderson often uses the technique of alternating between “comedy” and “tragic” to create more compelling films. This scene is given a comical edge by these shots. The ‘point-of-view’ shots reveal the hesitation of each character to act. The editing creates a playful and childlike performance. Anderson and Tykwer use their unique editing styles to emphasize other elements that add excitement to the scene, like actor’s expressions and dialogue. These scenes are characterized by the directed performances of actors. They engage the audience. The close-ups of the actors in both scenes enable them to give a captivating experience and incite a growing sense suspense. The Grand Budapest Hotel uses stylised performances to add a sense of humor and soften the intensity. The actors’ operatic gestures suggest the intent of the scene, which is to evoke tension and excitement. Gustave, Zero, and Corporal Muller’s quick and exaggerated movements of the eyes in their close-up shots are hilarious. These actors give a sophisticated performance. They can convey both the seriousness, as well as the absurdity of the comedy in this scene. The actors’ facial expressions, body movements and gestures are similar to a stage performance. Anderson uses contradictory devices to create engaging moments.
Run Lola Run is a stylised film in the opposite sense. Lola (played by Franka potente) is very reserved in this scene, despite the fact that she stormed a bank with a gun on her father’s face. Subtle details of her acting, such as sharp, calculated eyes and defiant, strong body movements, hint at an uncontrollable energy within the young girl. She seems to be too controlled in her performance and is capable of exploding into a frenzy. She exhales rapidly after taking a breath. The viewer will feel the tension as the suspense builds. Her brow is furrowed and her gaze is intensely fixed on the father. Her expression is hardened even after she misses the head of her father. The audience feels no relief at the end. Potente’s performance shows the power and determination of Lola as the main character. These scenes add a new dimension to the actors’ performances. This is done by incorporating sound in these two scenes. It helps the audience to understand the subtle tones. Run Lola Run’s energetic quality is largely due to the sound. The nondiegetic song gets louder and louder with the increasing tension in the scenes. Only the character dialogues are quieter. Tykwer’s use of sound to change the audience’s feelings and increase their anticipation is effective. The sound of Lola pulling on the trigger is accentuated by the music. Loud gunshots are accompanied by the music that builds up in pace. Tykwer’s films are known for their impressive use of sound and music to emotionally connect with the audience. He uses the fast paced and usually ‘passionate electronic dance’ music in this scene to increase the tension and to show the increasing frustration of his protagonist.
Anderson also uses sound to capture the audience’s attention in this scene. Non-diegetic music in this scene is ominous. It reminds us of a marching military band. The comical aspect of the scene is enhanced by the obvious link between the music, the soldiers and the background. As the camera cuts between Gustave’s close-up, Zero’s and Corporal Muller’s, a loud orchestral soundtrack is played. It adds irony and tension to the scene. Diegetic sounds, such as a whistle or a door slamming, are used to signal the end of this climax. The music and all action have frozen. The sounds of the train whistle and the door slamming open introduce Anderson’s tableau vivant shot, which is one of his signature shots. The actors are all frozen, staring directly at the camera in the middle of a conflict. The musical piece that is accompanying the scene has a staccato and rhythmic nature, which adds to the drama of the scene. The sound increases in volume and intensity as the action progresses. At the end of the scene, the sound stops and the actors’ performance is the focus. Both scenes have very different music styles. The first is a dance electronic beat, and the second is a classical piece. They both serve the same purpose in each scene: to create tension and show the increasing suspense.
Wes Anderson’s and Tom Tykwer’s unique approaches to editing, sound design, cinematography, and the mise enscene are what make them so influential. The Grand Budapest Hotel’s and Run Lola Run’s climactic moments have different impact on the audience because they are similar dramatic moments. All of these elements worked together in the director’s style to create drama for the audience. The director’s own decisions in executing these techniques according to the style and narrative of their films were what caused the scenes to evoke two different emotions for the viewers.