What do Wes Anderson and brazilian carnival have in common?

Find out and take full advantage of the magical touch of color.

Mood of the post: THE brazilian rhythmic sound that plays louder during the days of carnival is frevo. And this is the most well-known frevo.

Oh, just here dreaming about Wes Anderson’s vintage, pastel, creative yet so personal color palettes that became his most appreciated trademark. Although a minimalist home decoration style always spoke louder towards my side, the color-love bug catches me e-ve-ry-ti-me after watching one of his films. Until I can land an art director gig in his next one, I’ll be here trying to incorporate the beautiful aesthetic that his color palettes bring into everything around. 🙂

A still of The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson with circles indicating the colors extracted from the facade of the building
Color palette of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel by Kudret Keskin

The very Anderson-like hues that compose the costumes, brush the ambience and paint the buildings are almost like dreaming awake. The result is an atmosphere of retro and nostalgia for those things and times that could have been. It’s like a parallel universe of what would have happened if the past had taken other directions. A place tracked by possibilities.

That’s the kind of movie that I like to make, where there is an invented reality and the audience is going to go someplace where hopefully they’ve never been before. The details, that’s what the world is made of.

Wes Anderson

a still of the royal tenenbaums and its color palette with pastel, light colors
Color palette extracted from a still of The Royal Tenenbaums by http://wesandersonpalettes.tumblr.com

Although the work involved in creating the very controlled and detailed shots of Wes Anderson films is off course equally intricate, there are some settings and editing tricks that will make our images look a bit like the dusty-surfaced yet vibrantly pastel mood. I though about experimenting a little with Wes Anderson’s color palettes, and while going through my last photos to choose some, I had an insight.

a still of moonrise kingdom showing a beach landscape and the color palette extracted from the scene, with pastel greens, yellows and terra-cotta
Color palette extracted from a still of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom from http://wesandersonpalettes.tumblr.com

There are some other experiences that cross my mind when thinking about the words dreamy, playful, costumes. The first one: carnival. Or better yet, brazilian carnival. I just came back to Berlin from a trip to Brazil, and I was lucky enough to be back in my home country after 5 years exactly during the carnival celebrations, even without having planned it.

three girls dressed with costumes for carnival against an iron gate
Our costumes were as well pretty much improvised. Make-up, as warming filters and retro colors, can change all the mood!

So, forget all that you know about carnival in Brazil. It’s not only about the parades that are shown on tv. Don’t get me wrong, the official parades aren’t called “the biggest spectacle on earth” without a reason. The amount of thought and craft work executed by the communities that make it all happen is humongous. But today I’ll show a bit of what most people’s carnival really is. What we, locals, do to have fun on carnival week, if we choose not to flee the cities and go rest by some beach: the street carnival.

people walking around the cith with the carnival group in sao paulo, brazil

During the week or so that the festivities take place, there is an everyday program of carnival groups, the so-called street carnival blocks. They are organized by the people and after having their license given by the city hall they are able to close some of the streets of the area around the concentration, the place the people will gather to start walking together rocked by the sambas and rhythmic brazilian regional music.

A guy with a message painted on his back. The translation is something like: It's better to catch Zika virus from kissing then from a mosquito. The Zika virus epidemy, which is transmited by the Aedis Egyptis mosquito, is scaring brazilians. Some days before this photo was taken, the brazilian State Office of Health informed that the virus could also be transmited by the saliva or sexual contact. Yep, brazilians won't miss a joke, m'a friend!
The translation is something like: “It’s better to catch Zika virus from kissing than from a mosquito bite”. The Zika virus transmited by the Aedis Egyptis mosquito is scaring Brazilians. Some days before this photo was taken, the brazilian State Office of Health informed that the virus could also be transmitted by human saliva or sexual contact. Yep, Brazilians won’t miss a joke, m’a friend!

It’s hard to describe the energy that some 200 to 2 million people emanate walking, singing and dancing together. It’s one of those experiences that one can describe as a one-in-a-lifetime and must-feature-in-bucket-list kinda.

young woman smoking a cigarette from a pipe, all dressed in a carnival costume

I don’t have many photos of the day we went out to the carnival blocks, neither they are in high-resolution. Reason number one would probably be me not wanting to carry my dslr camera around (which ended like being the best decision, since we were caught by a tropical storm, which NO ONE cared, or cared enough to leave the block) and reason number two would be… oh well… I was having too much fun, let’s put it like this.

people having fun in the brazilian carnival block, with a viking boat featuring a tv antenna!
Check out their viking boat!

I edited the few registers of my carnival time in Sao Paulo in the best improvised Wes Anderson fashion that I could. A warming photo filter, added noise (grains), some vintage manual coloring inspired by his color palettes and voila!

lady standing by her house's door, holding a broom and watching the block go by
She was loving the block going by her house!
couple dressed as darth vader and yoda at a carnival block in sao paulo, brazil
Recognize their force?

“I have a way of filming things and staging them and designing sets. There were times when I thought I should change my approach, but in fact, this is what I like to do. It’s sort of like my handwriting as a movie director. And somewhere along the way, I think I’ve made the decision: I’m going to write in my own handwriting.”

Wes Anderson

girls dressed in carnival costumes at a carnival block in sao paulo, brazil
May art always be with us!

Wanna know what makes a Wes Anderson film a Wes Anderson film? The Huffington Post will tell you!

What about some Wes Anderson inspired house decorative treats? This blogger curated 5 of them!

Tatiana Bastos photography. More at instagram.com/tatyart11

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Tatiana Bastos

Born and raised in Brasil, studied advertisement at Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo. But from a small child knew to be taken head over feet by fine arts, illustration and photography. For that reason, studied at Panamericana School of Art and Design, also in Brazil, and then ventured to study at The Art Students League of New York, in Manhattan. After years of travels, decided to be based for half of the year on an inspiring island at the center of the blue aegean sea, in Greece, and the other half of the year on electric Berlin, Germany. Still a world traveller, healthy eater, art lover, diy do-er.

4 thoughts on “What do Wes Anderson and brazilian carnival have in common?”

  1. I have such a pleasure while reading your posts! You do make my mind work and wonder!

  2. Wow, that was something new. Loved it! Such a great idea to analyse Wes Anderson’s visual style and seek out real life comparisons. I have not been to Brazil’s carnival yet but always wanted to go. Your post took me there. Thank you!