Filmmaker Wes Anderson opened the LIVE From the New York Public Library’s Spring season on Feb. 27, chatting with the library’s Paul Holdengraber about his new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was deeply influenced by the work of Austrian author Stefan Zweig. “I stole from Zweig,” Anderson said, and the result is an extraordinary tapestry of an imaginary Austro-Hungarian Empire from grandeur to decay. Though The Grand Budapest Hotel is a comedy, it is a dark comedy that foreshadows the sinister history of the two world wars and their aftermath. The film on one level illustrates Alain Finkielkraut’s observation that “Barbarism is not the prehistory of humanity but the faithful shadow that accompanies its every step.”
On Stefan Zweig:
On Francois Truffaut and Marcel Proust:
Founded and directed by Holdengraber, LIVE From the NYPL has featured interviews with artists ranging from Patti Smith to Zadie Smith, Jay-Z to Ricky Jay, Werner Herzog to Mike Tyson. For information about the upcoming season, which includes Ricky Jay, Malcolm Gladwell, Geoff Dyer, and Katherine Boo, go to nypl.org/live.