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Wally Koval’s extraordinary travel guide „Accidentally Wes Anderson“

Wes Anderson films are characterized by their extraordinary characters, by its turns of plot that leave us amazed and an irrepressible, and by its visual creative drive. The composition of images in Anderson’s films has a lot to do with symmetry, a symmetry that gives things, objects, houses and landscapes a significance that they don’t actually have. This discrepancy irritates, disturbs and disrupts us. And that’s a good part of the pleasure we get when we see a Wes Anderson movie.

Now the photographer, author, Instagrammer, whatever his profession is, Wally Koval has visited locations for films like Grand Budapest Hotel and … No, he hasn’t. Different: Wally Koval shares photos of places on his Instagram channel @accidentallywesanderson that look like they came from a fictional, yet to be shot Wes Anderson film. His channel now has 1.4 million subscribers. And now Wally Koval has made a book out of it, which was published by DuMont Verlag. It’s kind of like a travel guide. A world Wes Anderson travel guide. In addition, a very practical one, with maps, hints and things worth knowing about all the places. I expect that after the pandemic, a stream of world travelers will go out and visit the places one after the other.

One of the fascinating places that can be found in the book and that I would like to go to tomorrow is, for example, a fire watch tower in the Catskill Mountains in the USA. I recently saw a television documentary about such fire watch towers. They were there to detect the slightest presence of smoke over the American forests. In some of these towers you can supposedly stay the night. But some of them also burned down.

To give an example from Germany: The fact that I was previously unfamiliar with the Nibelungen Bridge over the Rhine and the associated Nibelungen Tower in Worms is a criminal omission. The Nibelungen Bridge and the Nibelungen Tower are pretty much the most eclectic ensemble of buildings I’ve come across. There is a historic clock tower that is supposed to look as if it came from the Middle Ages, and the ugliest 1950s bridge leads through this clock tower. A very strange combination. The tower has been a boy scout hostel since 1976.

Wes Anderson says of Koval’s book: „I now understand what it means to happen to be me.“

Wally Koval: Accidentally Wes Anderson. Places like from “Grand Budapest Hotel” and other films by the director. With a foreword by Wes Anderson. DuMont publishing house. 28 € (D). 368 pages.

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