Anticipating his new canine opus Isle of Dogs, an exhibition in London brings together Wes Anderson’s whimsical vibes, stop-motion craftmanship at its finest and a dystopian Japanese atmosphere. What’s more? It’s completely free.
Head to The Store X at The Strand near Embankment to have an exclusive preview of the carefully sculpted sets and puppets that informed the futuristic microworld of Anderson’s ninth film, set in Japan twenty years from now.
A future where dogs have been exiled to a trash island to contain the spreading of dog flu. That’s the hideous plan by the government to find a scapegoat for all corruption and discontent. But Atari, the Mayor’s nephew, is not buying it and flies to the island to find his beloved pup Spots.
As you enter the exhibition, you make your way through a small reconstruction of the city of Megasaki. Take a look around, have an overpriced, nearly alcohol-free drink named after one of the doggo characters, accompanied by a bowl of Japanese ramen cooked by chef Akira Shimizu from the Engawa restaurant in Soho.
Like everything else in Wes Anderson’s universe, it’s not by chance that the exhibit opened on National Puppy Day, 23 March. Nor it is a coincidence he chose London as the city for this unique exhibition. The insanely detailed sets and puppets showcased at The Strand are among the ones brought to life at 3 Mills Studios, the East London studios where production took place, as it was for his other animated gem Fantastic Mr. Fox.
A team of animators worked for several hours a day to paint the exact number of freckles on the human characters’ faces and render the scruffy fur of exiled dogs, not to mention the meticulously realistic architectures, and it shows.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen the movie yet, although you might want to be careful of a few spoiler-y hints. You’ll have before your very eyes the result of a few years of work, as production began in 2015 and unfolded shooting only a few seconds a day.
Contain the excitement, practise your symmetrical photographic skills and just show up. It’s an exhibition that Wes Anderson and animation fans alike don’t want to miss.
The Isle of Dogs Exhibition is at The Store X on The Strand in London from 23 March until 5 April 2018 (11am – 7pm, Saturday to Wednesday/11am – 10pm, Thursday and Friday).