While we had our ideas about the possible influences on Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" after watching and deconstructing the trailer — Jean-Luc Godard's "Pierrot le Fou" and "Little Fugitive" — the director himself has gone ahead and cleared up the movies that were in his mind when he set out to make the film.
“There’s two movies that I really love that were both kind of huge inspirations for 'Moonrise Kingdom,' ” Anderson told EW. “One is a movie called 'Black Jack' that’s directed by Ken Loach. The other one is another British movie that’s the first thing Alan Parker ever did. He wrote the script. It’s called 'Melody.' They’re both movies that I only found as I worked on this story. I was looking for movies that are about pre-teenage romance. And there’s a Truffaut movie 'Small Change.' That’s really one of the inspirations for this movie, because it’s what made me start thinking about doing this sort of story.”
So let's break these down a bit shall we? Of the three, "Black Jack" seems the oddest of the bunch (though granted, we haven't seen it). Though the film is a children's adventure, it's a period piece set in the 18th century, and based on the novel by Leon Garfied, about a young boy named Tolly who winds up on the run with the unsavory title character and they find themselves rubbing shoulders with body-snatchers, visiting private lunatic asylums, travelling fairs and more. We'd wager that tonally this must have been an inspiration, though we'll have to track down the movie and see (and that might be a difficult task given that it's unavailable stateside).
The next two movies much more clearly lay out their influence. Directed by Waris Hussein (though Alan Parker — who would go on to do "Evita," "The Commitments," "Fame" — did some second unit), "Melody" is a Bee Gees powered story is a love story told from a children's point of view (and note, "Moonrise Kingdom" also centers on two young kids in love, who run away together). And while we haven't seen this one either, check out the trailer below and you'll know in the first few moments of the song "Melody Fair" in the opening just how much of an impression this film made on Anderson not only in "Moonrise Kingdom" but his other films as well. That montage is pure Anderson. This one is available on a reportedly awful DVD transfer, so you may need to bust out your region free player.
Finally, one movie we have seen and that is very good is Francois Truffaut's "Small Change" (aka "Pocket Money" — an international title given to the film and suggested by Steven Spielberg to avoid confusion with Paul Newman's film of the same name). It's been a while since he watched this one, but it's a pretty tender look at the lives of children — and in particular how they interact with adults as well — in a small town, and we'd guess that approach is echoed in Anderson's small New England town in which he stages "Moonrise Kingdom." And the film also includes a strand about a young romance.
Either way, Anderson purists will be tracking these down (us included). "Moonrise Kingdom" opens the Cannes Film Festival and hits theaters on May 25th.