He grew up working at his uncle’s movie theatre and while sweeping up popcorn‚ fell in love with film. Tim Penner’s [BA/08, MA/11] master’s thesis earned accolades for uncovering the allusion and homage in the art of filmmaker Wes Anderson. Don’t ask him to choose just one favourite movie‚ but The Royal Tenenbaums is up there.
Why Wes Anderson?
His films are not like anything else and yet built out of all of these other influences. I thought that sort of dichotomy was interesting.
What influences have you uncovered?
There is a lot of French wave in there but there’s also American [influences] like Hal Ashby‚ Robert Altman. [Martin] Scorsese is a big influence on him. I’d love to meet Wes Anderson. I tried to send him a letter and it came back returned.
Do you think some people like his movies because it’s ‘cool’ to like his movies?
There is this‚ like‚ hipster credibility I suppose to the liking of his movies and in some ways it’s weirdly cyclical because the hipster movement sort of came out of people trying to live like the people in his movies.
What are you working on now?
Ernest Hemingway. I’m examining the way his kind of persona and aura, or whatever you want to call it, affects the way that people adapt his novels. I’m really interested in the idea of a guy that is so celebrated for being macho but who writes these books about characters that are stripped of this masculinity.
What role does art play in life?
It allows us to explore someone else’s experience. The biggest problem is people are building echo chambers around themselves through social media and whatever news network they watch that isolates them from other points of view.
Have you ever been in a heated argument about a film?
I remember my brother asking me about Birdman after it came out. He was telling me how horrible it was and why it was representative of everything that was wrong with movies nowadays‚ and I defended it. Eventually‚ we just stopped talking about movies.