Watch Timothée Chalamet’s ‘The French Dispatch’ Bathtub Manifesto

by 24USATVJuly 13, 2021, 2 p.m. 19
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Trust is vital in the relationship between a sharp-minded editor and an emotionally overwrought writer—but that bond is even more intimate when the scribe happens to be presenting his work while nude in a bathtub. Such is the circumstance we encounter with Timothée Chalamet’s precocious revolutionary Zeffirelli and Frances McDormand’s stoic veteran journalist Lucinda Krementz in this exclusive clip from filmmaker Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

There’s obviously a comfort between them, a familiarity, despite his mild bashfulness about his “new muscles.” So, what’s actually going on in this bathroom, circa May 1968? Anderson himself provides some context:

“This scene comes from the second story in the three main stories of this movie, which is called ‘Revisions to a Manifesto,’” Anderson says. “Mrs. McDormand is Lucinda Krementz, an American journalist who lives in France, and Monsieur Chalamet is called Zeffirelli. He’s a student and Krementz is covering the student protests that have sort of erupted.”

The uprising in the fictional town of Ennui-sur-Blasé is not quite as intense or noble as other civil rights protests around the world from the same era. “They began, we’re told, with the insistence of the students that male students be allowed to visit the girls’ dormitory,” Anderson explains.



That’s the spark that awakened the young activists in that sleepy town—but now things have expanded to encompass other issues, and a kind of revolution is at hand. “It’s then grown into a much bigger protest that is ongoing,” Anderson says. The uprising is a fertile topic for the eponymous newspaper at the center of The French Dispatch, which links the film’s anthology of stories. Krementz has been dispatched as the publication’s special correspondent—but she is also taking a moment to mix business and pleasure.

“Krementz is now at dinner at her friends and neighbors’ house, and they happen to be the parents of one of the student leaders, which is Zeffirelli,” Anderson says. “The end of the dinner is interrupted by a riot in the street where tear gas gets into the apartment, so she has gone into the bathroom to rinse her eyes and is unaware—unknown to the parents, and all of them—that Zeffirelli has actually snuck back home and is taking a bath.”

“And so she discovers him in the bathroom, and that’s the scene between the two of them,” he continues, adding that Zeffirelli probably knows her well already. “She is friends with his parents, but she is also a well-known writer.”

Naturally, the young man uses this opportunity to show Krementz his own thoughts on the revolution. Networking is important when you’re trying to change the world, even if you happen to be without clothes. “I think that gives you the basic situation that we find them in at that point,” Anderson says.

Of course, things soon veer drastically from: Mrs. Krementz, you’re trying to rewrite me…Aren’t you?

The French Dispatch is set to open for general audiences on October 22, 2021.

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