Throughout his high-flying feature career, director Wes Anderson has supplemented his major works with regular forays into advertising. His specialty is premium luxury and lifestyle brands with an international flavor, a niche that’s somewhat reflective of his own tastes as an artist. In 2014, while he was still basking in the glow of THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL’s success, Anderson took on his second assignment for Belgian beer brewer Stella Artois– a holiday-themed spot called “GIVE BEAUTIFULLY”.
Not many people are clued into the fact that Anderson directed this spot, given that his signature style is downplayed considerably here in favor of a naturalistic look and a neutral, muted color palette. Still, a few shots are dead giveaways as to the identity of its maker: flat compositions, whip-pans, lateral dolly movements, and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Stella Artois’ heritage as a Belgian brand allows Anderson to effortlessly indulge in his fascinations with European architecture and culture. It’s a curious spot in Anderson’s canon, if only because he deliberately obscures the visual style that most marketers tend to seek him out specifically for.
As of this writing, “GIVE BEAUTIFULLY” is the most recent complete work of Anderson’s as a director. In his 46 years of life and two decades as a filmmaker, he’s created a career for himself that many directors twice his age would envy– and he’s not even halfway done yet. While his signature, miniaturist aesthetic is certainly divisive, it’s hard to argue against the notion that his is one of the most auspiciously original voices in recent cinematic history. His aesthetic and thematic fascinations may undergone a subtle evolution through his own trials and tribulations, but he’s never strayed from the artistic principles upon which he established himself. In an age dominated by generic blockbuster fare and stale mega-franchises, Anderson has managed to succeed by making HIMSELF the brand, and in the process, has blessed burgeoning indie filmmakers with a roadmap for achieving prosperity and perseverance on their own terms.