“Max Fischer Presents”: Wes Anderson and the Theatricality of Mourning

  • Rachel Joseph


This chapter will explore the relationship between theatricality, screened stages, and mourning in the work of Wes Anderson with a focus on Rushmore (1998) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012). Screened stages refer to instances when the stage appears within a film, creating a moment of “liveness” within the cinematic. The screened stages within Anderson’s films create miniaturizations of the mourning process and a working through and communal witnessing of the relinquishment of the mourned-for lost object. The stage within the screen frames both an absent present and love (in combination with grief) for that which has disappeared. Each framed moment in Anderson’s films presents itself like a miniature stage pressed under glass and preserved as if it were some kind of childhood butterfly collection.


Grieve Process Pleasure Principle Love Object Absent Presence Lost Object 
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© Peter C. Kunze 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Joseph

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