Noah Baumbach has spent the past 20 years writing and directing films that all seem to fit together in the same universe, even if it’s never explicitly said. That could be “the real world,” but it’s one that has very similar themes running throughout: longing, confusion, anger, angst, not knowing where one’s place is in the world, and a disconnect from others. These recurring motifs are laid bare in a new tribute to the filmmaker’s work by Fernando Andrés who assembles moments from all the films Baumbach has directed in the past two decades.
By editing together these scenes and shots from the different films, from 1995’s Kicking And Screaming up to last year’s Mistress America, Andrés shows the similarities in the stories Baumbach has been telling while also displaying his progression over the years. From the uncertain angst of recent college grads to the manic energy of a thirtysomething woman full of dreams, Baumbach has always been interested in people’s abilities (and failures) to connect with others in their time of existential crisis and how they emerge with better defined selves through the process. The video tribute, titled “Let Me In,” is aided by music from James Murphy, Hot Chocolate, and, of course, David Bowie (whose song “Modern Romance” was used so perfectly in Baumbach’s Frances Ha). Andrés writes about his video:
The films of Noah Baumbach can be, at first glance, discarded as the kind of cinema coming from the pretentious Wes Anderson school of film. But nothing could be further from the truth. Here is a filmmaker obsessed with human connection, a distaste for substituting style for substance, and a keen ability to juxtapose generations to reveal truths about people both young and old. He once said in an interview that he grew up idolizing the films of the French New Wave, but seeked to do something different. “Their revolution was through technique,” he said. “My revolution is through emotion.”
By detailing people desperately searching for their place in the world, Baumbach has provided keen insight into the human dilemma but has also given viewers a better understanding of how they fit in as well.