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A free Wes Anderson exhibition has popped up in London

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Megasaki City has come to London.

A new (and free) exhibition celebrating Wes Anderson’s second stop-motion animation film, going behind the scenes of Isle of Dogs has opened at The Store X, The Strand, London. The exhibition gives fans and avid film lovers a chance to see 17 of the original hand-crafted sets and puppets up close.

Megasaki City

As stated in the free handout: "Isle of Dogs tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage dump. Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies to Trash Island in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

"The film was shot over 445 days, at East London’s 3 Mills Studios, with a crew of more than 670 people. 240 sets and 1097 puppets were used to create the 144,000 still frames that make up the film’s 100-minute duration."

Being imminently released on March 30th, Isle of Dogs has been creating quite a buzz, and after visiting this exhibition, I understand why.

Noodle bar exhibit

Upon entering the exhibit, a life-size noodle bar serves traditional Japanese ramen from commended London-based chef Akira Shimizu. Once purchasing (or not), a table-filled space within the set emerges, with surrounding screens debuting short sequences from the film whilst also containing a parallel, small-scale model of the setting.

Other exhibits see The City of Megasaki, Kobayashi Park, Trash Island, The Megasaki Muncipal Dome, and The Site of Atari’s Plane Crash, to name a few.

Dogs

What impresses is an eye for detail, with every individual character and set parading Anderson’s unique, notable cinematic style. Alongside the commendable sets, the specially-curated soundtrack of Alexandre Desplat’s score played overhead further encompassed the Japanese world – which can also be purchased on 12-inch vinyl at the reception desk.

The exhibition area itself is largely spacious and upon my visit was not overcrowded; making it easy to wander around, take photographs, and come face to face with Anderson’s creative universe. However, besides from the free map handout which numbers the sets with suitable captions, there’s a lack of any labels/plaques explaining the sets and their purposes – presumably, and understandably due to the hiding exposure of the film’s narrative.

Ultimately, if you long for getting lost in another witty, extraordinary, detailed world of Wes Anderson, this is a must-see. The exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the world of Anderson’s filmmaking, whilst being able to simultaneously walk among and gaze over it.

Address: The Store X - 180 Strand, London, WC2R 1EA

Dates: March 23rd–April 5th

Isle of Dogs opens Friday 30th March.

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