I recently had the privilege to see this film on the big screen and take part in a discussion on it. Based on what was discussed, I feel it is time for a post.
This is actually the only Wes Anderson movie I have seen. And I have seen it quite a few times before the fortunate moment I previously mentioned. The first was with a person who will always remain near and dear to my heart, who always showed me very good movies. This was in 2015, after its many Oscars wins and wide release. I have lost touch in many ways with this person, and my relationship with him is strained and painful.
Which is as good of a segue as any as talking about this movie. In many ways, Grand Budapest is also about love and loss. Zero’s loss of Agatha. M. Gustave’s loss of his lady companion. Zero’s loss of M. Gustave. And, ultimately, the loss of the hotel. Many beloved and cherished people and things are lost in time throughout the film, without the characters being able to stop it.
Despite these very sad and nostalgic undertones, as Zero reminisces on all this and misses Agatha deeply, the whole film is charming and cute. In typical Wes Anderson fashion, it is colorful and dainty with delicate title cards and charming set designs that look like the confectionery marvels that come out of Mendl’s. It is a visual treat watching this pastel wonderland and its ever-changing aspect ratios to reflect different periods of time. The style is impeccable, luxurious, and the viewer years for these days much like M. Gustave does.
Not only that, but it has a charming sense of humor and wit. Ralph Fiennes and the whimsical set designs add to this, in particular. The entire film, despite its underlying sadness, is a charmer and a fun visual ride. There are so many lovely shots and lovely cinematography it was hard to pick just ten pictures.
We were happy here. For a little while. This happiness and yearning nostalgia can be captured by watching this movie over and over again.
“For my dearest darling, treasured, cherished ___ whom I worship. With respect, adoration, admiration, kisses, gratitude, best wishes, and love from A to _” ♥
what happened in 2014? what was that post about?? (Btw I only now just noticed ur url is "goth"chanbaek not "got"chanbaek...)
L O L don’t worry about the url… I haven’t changed it since summer 2016 (when Monster came out and my mutuals made “goth” urls falsdk;jfaldsf)
So 2014 basically got hit by a huge shitstorm. The Sewol Ferry sinking of course was a national tragedy and left many idols devastated; some kids on the ship were very much fans of different idol groups and relatives / friends reached out to the idols to tell them so. I cried during the whole fiasco and I wasn’t even in the country …. the debacle just made my heart ache.
Related to the actual kpop industry itself, Kris did leave EXO in May of 2014 and opened the flood gates for the biggest SM scandal since the breakup of DB5K into 2VXQ and JYJ. (DBSK had the largest fandom to date, called Cassiopeia, and it had fans in China, Korea, Japan…. they were especially known for how big they were in Japan. Breakout and steady success in what was considered Asia’s largest music market, by foreign and non-American artists was absolutely amazing. For the record, it has names specific to each language: Tong Vfan Xien Qi = TVXQ, the Mandarin name; DBSK = Dong Bang Shing Ki, Korean name; and Tohoshinki is the Japanese name. They technically debuted as a Japanese act and not a Korean act releasing things in Japanese which adds some nuance important for considering record breaking and setting, money, etc which are not important for our purposes here.) Kris’s sudden departure opened wounds older kpop fans had considered closed since the breakup of Kpop’s largest act (BigBang wasn’t shit in comparison for quite some time and even LeeSooMan apparently considered SJ throwaways from DBSK) and cast yet another huge, negative, ugly spotlight on the abuses of SM Entertainment in the past. The sticky part is how people started to analyze why this departure was not so sudden, and I will return to that in a bit.
This departure itself was ugly because Kris left in the middle of Overdose promotions and a few weeks before EXO’s first tour would commence. For context, Overdose came as a follow up to EXO’s smashing 2013 success with Growl Repackage and Miracles in December. They became the first artists to become million-album sellers in years with Growl and they won Album of the Year at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, when G Dragon had won pretty much every thing else that night (lmao) and SHINee was also up for the award. So they, a rookie group less than 2 years old, managed to win that award despite the STIFF sunbae competition on top of becoming million sellers… All eyes were on them no doubt and the public and fans were looking forward to their next promotions and their first concert tour… … SO you can imagine the laser focus this drew to the group and to the company. I will tell you right now: Not. A. Pleasant. Experience. The fandom was l i t e r a l l y imploding and people were taking pro-Kris and anti-Kris stances everywhere and calling him a traitor and calling fans fake and — and there was the part where only Suho was on stage to receive EXO’s award right after the news came out and my soul broke in half and the days you could tell EXO had been crying before coming onstage and and and – THERE WAS JUST SO MUCH SAD AND ANGRY IN THE FANDOM I hated it.
There are many bloggers who were around, who I followed during that time who aren’t around anymore. T_T
If I tell and explain everything wrong that happened in 2014 I could be here quite a while, so I’ll keep it short and jump to Baek’s instagram post. He made that post (xx) and one or two others I think, in response to the viciousand heinous reactions he and Taeyeon received after Dispatch revealed they were dating. Yes, this happened even in the aftermath of Kris’ departure. Yes, this only made things worse. Why? Well to add fuel to the fire, Baek had made a sort of cheeky promise that he wouldn’t date until EXO had made it, weren’t rookies anymore… basically he “promised” not to date until around 5 years after EXO debuted. That would be this year… so you know …. those deluded fans who took him seriously flipped out. Add on to that the fact that Taeyeon is many years his sunbae in terms of activity in the industry and the leader of the Nation’s Girl Group ™ and both jealousy of her and resentment of the fact he was in a relationship caused fans to make vicious posts and comments on Instagram–BOTH of their Instagrams, though his was far worse–and many other social media sites and forums. (Twitter comes to mind too.) THEN to top it all off, Baek was an MC on a music show (Inkigayo maybe?) and YOU COULD SEE HE HAD BEEN STRESSED, SLEEP DEPRIVED AND CRYING on many days and so-called “””fans””” had the nerve to shout and call him a traitor–among other things–ON LIVE BROADCAST like h o l y s h i t this was bad. Baek should not have had to ~apologize~ for dating Taeyeon, as he did in the post.
Okay now winding back to what I mentioned earlier: rumor theories. Theories about every damn thing started floating around. There was a big theory about how Kris had wanted out of EXO since before Wolf (Wolf preceded Growl, but both were in 2013) and that Kris fabricated his visa issue. I have that on my blog and can hunt it down for you if you want to read the full body of “Evidence ™” but it’s actually plausible. Another theory was that Taeyeon and Baek were not actually dating–and this has many strains. One strain indicates that the entire relationship was fabricated as a distraction from the Kris departure and lawsuit , while the other states that they did date at one time but broke up way before any of the drama started–SM just used them since they had been together before as an easy cover up. These kinds of theories did not help a damn thing and just seeded further distrust and resentment within fandoms. Like seriously you had SONEs and EXOL screeching at other over this relationship, and even though they were not majority or mainstream fandom members / opinions, they still became pretty vocal. Many bad egg EXOL attacked both Baek and Taeyeon, and fewer SONEs attacked one or both. The theories that surrounded their relationship, including that they gave “hints” with couple items and that Taeyeon gave Baek a fan gift just . It was so ugly. Kpop fans showed their ugliest side. There were venomous comments for weeks. Baek and Tae even left Instagram for a while and Baek stopped being energetic and talkative when with EXO. I hated it so. fucking . much.
Let me tell you. Within SM? It only gets worse. Outside of SM? It gets much worse.
Within SM… Luhan also leaves EXO in October of that year. That’s TWO members, both Chinese, leaving the SAME up-and-coming and ~spectacular~ group, in the SAME year. Boy did that get media attention. Oh, and SM’s stocks took a much bigger dip after Luhan left than when Kris left. Oh, and Luhan’s deteriorating condition was much more visible than Kris’s and just stoked the flames of hatred against SM all over again. Oh, and Luhan was EXO’s biggest China connection and most popular member in China … hence the stock drop. A few months later, Luhan was making literally millions on his own, which reinforced the premise that the dude was worth wayyyy too valuable for SM to give up willingly. Which of course they didn’t , which is why the main lawsuit lasted for about 2 years. But yeah now the forever-12 group with 4 Chinese members was down to 10 and only 2 Chinese members (bad for connecting to the Chinese music market which is full of $$$$) and media was losing its mind ! So was the fandom! Now the definition of traitor had shifted and you were a traitor and YOU were a traitor and we’re all traitors !!!!
And JESSICA LEFT SNSD TOO !!! The only way I can characterize everyone’s emotions at the time is: WHAT T HE F UC K ??? Luhan and Jessica’s respective departures literally happened within two weeks of each other !!! What were we supposed to d o ??? Between all three departures, you felt like you were getting punched in the gut, then the face, then the genitalia, then kicked on the ground. SNSD was forever nine man, nation’s girl group, biggest Kpop girl group ever and suddenly a main vocalist is gone ??? B O Y !
Oh, I forgot to mention how Tao posted on his Instagram very …. resentful things when Kris left . Mmmmm yeah it was bad, not gonna elaborate too hard but … he took it back later in 2015. You probably know that he, too, is now a former EXO member by now.
2014 was good in that you had groups GOT7, Mamamoo, RedVelvet, WINNER, Akdong Musician, Lovelyz, JJCC, etc debut that year. But it was bad due to circumstances surrounding some of those debuts.
Notably, Red Velvet was accused of having their debut rushed because SM wanted to cover up the ongoing lawsuit news. Now I know this sounds ridiculous: a dating scandal AND debuting an entire group early just to cover up some bad publicity about an idol leaving your company? Well given how persistent the press was and how bad the lawsuit and allegations made SM look … it’s not that difficult to believe and it most definitely was not hard to gobble up as reliable gossip at the time. At the time, it was considered the norm that SM covers up bad news by Any Means Necessary, and to generate positive publicity. The BaekYeon thing backfired tremendously in that it gave hatred to artists instead of positivity but it sure as hell kept folks’ minds off the lawsuit for a bit. (Also there’s the whole strain of thinking corporations and business control and influence the media, which is something many of us can relate to and why this can appeal so strongly.)
I believe the fact that Yeri joined RV later and was going to be a permanent addition, and the only addition, only helped this theory. After all, apparently she was intended to be with the group from the start, but she was too young when RV debuted. This seems to imply that RV debuted sooner than they were supposed to. ~X files music plays in the background~
WINNER also got shafted pretty hard. They won the big reality idol-elimination show WIN: Who’s Next? hence the title WINNER (formerly Team A) and then YG highkey neglected them because …well honestly YG wanted the Next Big Bang ™ and WINNER’s ballad style wasn’t going to do that–no matter how much Mino you throw in the song. Plus he demonstrated obvious favoritism to Mino, Bobby and B.I. in general and once WINNER highkey disappeared after they dropped their release (as rookies you are supposed to do follow up promotions the same year and within a decent time frame – EXO did not do this like they were supposed to, again because of Kris visa issue [hey that theory’s looking mighty Fresh again]) it became clear that YG wanted the next group out of the WIN cycle to get the spotlight–that group became iKon (formerly known as Team B).
Lovelyz had an issue with one of their to-be-debuted members name Jisoo. Jisoo was accused of … well have you heard of the things the boy trainees under Produce 101 are being accused of ? If so, think along those lines. If not: suffice to say it involved manipulation, lesbianism and abuse within the relationship…. bad stuff to be accused of in South Korea lmao so the group was involved in scandal before even debuting! In the end, Jisoo did not debut on account that the allegations were being investigated and taken seriously–in addition to claims that she was ill due to the drama on the internet and within her live as a result of the accusations, and that she needed to recover.
I will end with those three examples of debut issues. Let’s go back to a group that debuted the same year as EXO: B.A.P. 2014 was the year B.A.P sued over “slave contracts” with TS Entertainment.
According to the suit, since debuting in 2012, B.A.P had earned over 9 million dollars, yet the company had only given each member $16,000 on top of forcing members to perform to the point of hospitalization and fainting.
ZE:A, which debuted in 2010, also revealed issues with their company (shocking!!! at this point) and the group leader Junyoung (Lee Hoo) took to Twitter to criticise his managing company’s, Star Empire’s CEO Shin Joo Hak for allegedly mistreating idol groups and their unfair contracts. He also alleged that CEO Shin Joo Hak both abused him and lost the company money. So there were accusations of financial and human capital abuses. He even posted income receipts on Twitter. You can read through (reliable!) translations of the events here: xx.
I want you to imagine hearing about all this shit throughout the year and thinking things are “over” and then just getting whacked whacked whacked whacked all about because you care about all these groups at the same time . J US T . :~)))))) I was fine : ^) everything : ^) was fine : ^) Nothing bad :~) was happening at all :~)
Oh and let’s add to this list, another thing that got negativity and didn’t deserve it: Super Junior’s Sungmin marrying Kim Sa-eun in 2014. ELF (SJ fandom name) were f u r i o u s at him for marrying so suddenly. ELF were trending #SungminOUT on Twitter because they wanted him kicked out of SJ for marrying. I was a pretty big SJ fan at the time so between everything !!! I WAS SCREAMING what the hell was wrong with people ???? Mad about a marriage ! They weren’t even mad at the lady (which doesn’t make it better), but purely the fact that he was getting married and didn’t give … idk some kind of prior notice? I knew he was enlisting soon after, but that wasn’t the source of the anger… anyway, other ELF counter-trended the #SungminOUT thing with a positive tag instead, and sent him lots of love, so it worked out…. but still many ELF were mad at him. If memory serves correctly, it was primarily K-ELF (korean SJ fans) who felt this sort of entitlement to him that led to the anger and it was …. yikes.
What else is there to say about that year? Of course people re-examined previous abuses by companies, including SM Entertainment’s maltreatment of DBSK, Hangeng of SJ (SJ’s former Chinese member who sued, won, and left the group and the company due to mistreatment), disbandment of H.O.T., Shinhwa’s departure from SM, etc etc etc so you had layers of SM stan pain. SHINee and f(x) became known as SM’s only groups to not lose a member or disband … and then f(x) lost Sulli in 2015 … :|
This is the most I remember or came to light when I looked up different issues I had thought of. If anyone wants to add to this list of catastrophe then please, go ahead. .-. I’m not even proofreading or else I’ll just get emotional for the umpteenth time. Hope this answers your (and 3 other folks’) question well!