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Garbage island of the island of dogs: the environmental photography that inspired the set

How the next Wes Anderson film raises questions about the human impact on the environment.

A star-driven group of voice actors including Yoko Ono, Bryan Cranston, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig and Scarlett Johansson join forces in the stop-motion animation feature of Wes Anderson ] Isle of Dogs but below the dazzling cinematography there is a critique of the way humans treat our environment.

In the movie, after an extensive propaganda campaign blames an outbreak of flu on local dogs, the city government of Megasaki exiles the canines to Trash Island, the city's floating dump. Isle of Dogs begins later, when 12-year-old Atari Kobayashi searches for Trash Island for his missing dog Spots.

Paul Harrod, who worked as a production designer on the film with Wes Anderson veteran Adam Stockhausen, said The Hollywood Reporter "Trash Island represents the way a society chooses to put its own crisis of waste disposal out of sight and, therefore, out of mind ". It is literal and not: "Dogs can be seen as representatives of any group of dispossessed beings, whether human or not."

According to Harrod, comments on the human impact on the environment were designed in the very design of the scenario. "Environmental criticism was always at the forefront of our design process," he said, noting that the team of Isle of Dogs was inspired by two private photographers who have dedicated much of their work to capturing the impacts of waste on the environment: Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan.

Although Wes Anderson and Adam Stockhausen were already looking at Burtynsky's photos by the time Harrod joined, Harrod incorporated Chris Jordan's work into the mix. "The interesting thing about these two photographers was that their images were nightmarish and oppressive, while at the same time they had a perverse aesthetic appeal," said Harrod. "Chris Jordan's monograph is entitled 'Intolerable Beauty', which I think says it all, the intention was for Trash Island to always have that quality, to be captivating in the way that it can only be a vision of hell "

While Burtynsky's work helped generate ideas about the landscape in general, Jordan inspired many of the textures and surface treatments of the whole.

Jordan, whose film Albatross is coming, said THR that his intentions as a photographer are not to advocate a particular cause but rather to generate questions about human society in general . It's not about pushing people to pick up garbage. It's about seeing what that garbage, and everything else that we leave behind, says about our own search for direction.

"Some people think that environmental activism is the main intention of my work, which is not, and that is why I tend to quarrel against the term & # 39; ecological artist & # 39;" Jordan said. "What interests me is the root cause of all forms of human destructiveness, whether environmental or social … How can we change and reconstruct the very foundations of our worldview, such as our approach to money, capitalism, militarism, Environmental exploitation, social exploitation, etc.? "

These are some of the same problems that the production designers at Isle of Dogs struggled with while working. Through the work of Jordan and Burtynsky, a film about exiled dogs and a child's quest for companionship has found a unique and subtle way to raise compelling questions about the relationship between people and the environment.

Isle of Dogs

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