by Eric Kohn.
A decade ago, Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater were some of the strongest American filmmakers working outside Hollywood. Anderson had churned out three distinctive visions (“Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”) while Linklater was entrenched in a career steeped in talky, deeply introspective works, from “Slacker” to “Waking Life,” not to mention “Before Sunrise” and its equally popular sequel, “Before Sunset.”
Now? Last weekend, when both men won top prizes at the Berlin Film Festival for their latest features, it looked as though nothing had changed. If anything, the filmmakers’ accomplishments suggested that they have achieved greater autonomy than ever before, and that’s saying something.
Anderson took home the runner-up Silver Bear for his fantastical period comedy “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” a slick but unapologetically self-indulgent achievement by a director who has earned the right to operate on his own stylistic wavelength. Linklater’s epic “Boyhood” — shot with the same cast over the course of 12 years — consolidates the director’s experimental uses of communication and the role of popular culture in forming American sensibilities. Viewed together, these films represent vital sources of unconventional storytelling at the core of American cinema.
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