Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson is seen in a production still from the set of 2004's "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." Credit: Buena Vista

I mean, it’s just a poster. But it’s also a poster for the next Wes Anderson movie, so we must lavish it with attention. Info has been skimpy so far re: “Isle of Dogs,” the filmmaker-cultural institution’s second go at stop-motion animation (after "Fantastic Mr. Fox"). All Anderson’s said about it is “it’s a film about dogs.” We have learned that it’s about a boy searching for his own canine, and that it has a typically eye-catching cast, including Anderson vets like (deep breath) Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand and Bob Balaban, plus newbs like (second deep breath) Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson, Courtney B. Vance, Greta Gerwig and Liev Schreiber.

 

The new poster doesn’t add much in the way of clarification. All we know is it’s pretty — and it features, at the bottom, the puzzling (and, yes, quirky) sight of an astronaut on a beach with a bunch of mutts. It also melds together Japanese and Western culture. The cast names are even written in both English and Japanese, and ditto the title.

 

So here’s where we talk about cultural appropriation and speculate about whether or not “Isle of Dogs” will be #problematic. Obviously, it’s too early to say, and we should leave it at that. But the poster seems to address this in its not-so-oblique way. Apart from the fact that a third of the listed cast is comprised of Japanese actors, the poster strongly implies it will be about mixing cultures — that “Dogs" won’t be just another Westerner pilfering from another land (or, worse, like the new "Ghost in the Shell"), but will be about creating a dialogue between two parts of the globe. That's something he’s done before: “The Darjeeling Limited” (a far more interesting film than its rep) is all about Americans journeying through India and trying to connect with a far-off land, and in a way that doesn’t peddle easy answers.

 

But again, who knows how Anderson will wrestle with this idea in a film that won’t come out until April 20, 2018? Till someone’s actually seen it, in who knows how long from now, we can chill and enjoy another design wonder from one of cinema’s finest directors. Anyway, behold!