Get Instagram-ready for The French Dispatch with our guide to hidden Wes Anderson locations in Singapore

Get Instagram-ready for The French Dispatch with our guide to hidden Wes Anderson locations in Singapore

The French Dispatch is the latest Wes Anderson film to hit Singapore’s screens. (Photo: ©️ 2021 20th Century Studios)

A new comedy by idiosyncratic genius auteur-director, Wes Anderson, got its first screening in Southeast Asia on 9 Dec as part of the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF).

The French Dispatch is a love letter to journalism in the heyday of print media, set in the offices of a mid-century American magazine based on The New Yorker, but filmed in the French town of Angoulême, where the cast and crew went to live for the duration. 

To celebrate SGIFF’s snagging rights for the regional premiere of Anderson’s 10th film, here are The A List’s Top 10 Singapore locations where you can achieve the Wes Anderson style for your cinematography.

  1. Katong Swimming Complex 

Officially opened in 1959, this Olympic-sized pool complex has a vintage feel and a touch of Anderson-style peculiarity in its colourful array of mosaiced fish fountains. While not straight out of a specific film, one can imagine Bill Murray throwing golf balls into it as Herman Blume in 1998’s Rushmore.

  1. Amber Beacon Tower at East Coast Park 

The Amber Beacon Tower, better known as the yellow tower or the yellow lighthouse, is active to this day, serving as a reference point for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Nevertheless, it is also open to the public, so you can climb the spiral staircase to the viewing platform – maybe as part of your workout. Its shape, symmetry, colour and waterfront location make it undeniably Anderson-esque.

  1. 123 Jalan Besar Road

There are so many characterful and quirky buildings in Jalan Besar, it is hard to pick one out. Plenty of the 1920s buildings along Upper Weld Road, Perak Road and Dunlop Street would fit right into an Anderson set. This brightly painted beauty on Jalan Besar Road, home to Lukbondoi Muay Thai boxing gym, is one of the best.

  1. Fort Canning Lighthouse

The second lighthouse on Fort Canning Hill was built in 1903 with a 36.3 metre tower, and originally overlooked Singapore Harbour. It was decommissioned and dismantled in 1958, but a replica was built a few years later, which remains an atmospheric and unique reminder of Singapore’s maritime history. It also looks similar to the Summer’s End lighthouse in Moonrise Kingdom, which is home to Suzy’s parents (played by Bill Murray and Frances McDormand). 

  1. Vintage Cameras Museum

One of the funkiest buildings in Singapore, the Vintage Cameras Museum can be found on Jalan Kledek, a couple of minutes’ walk from the Masjid Sultan. It is a treasure trove of cameras from yesteryear, and Anderson would surely appreciate its oddball charm. 

  1. Joo Chiat Shophouses

This well-known row of colourful Peranakan shophouses along Koon Seng Road would be a shoo-in for an Anderson film, and is already a popular spot with Instagrammers (much to the bemusement of residents).

  1. Raffles Hotel

The nearest thing Singapore has to Wes Anderson’s fictional Grand Budapest Hotel is Raffles Hotel, which similarly harks back to a bygone era of 19th century genteel splendour.

  1. Redhill MRT Station

The Millennial-pink-hued walls of Redhill MRT station look like they could be holding up Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, said to be inspired by the Grandhotel Pupp in the spa city of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic (also known as Czechia).

  1. Singapore Cable Car

It is not hard to imagine some of Anderson’s regular actors – picture Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Jeff Goldblum – holding a conversation filled with zingers and delivered in Anderson’s trademark deadpan style as they sway across the waters of Keppel Harbour from Mount Faber to Sentosa.

  1. Ministry of Communications and Information

More than 900 brightly painted windows at the former Hill Street Police Station – now home to the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth – provide the blend of colour and retro architecture that has become Anderson’s signature visual style.

Book your tickets for The French Dispatch here.

(Photos: ActiveSG, Unsplash, Shutterstock) 

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