The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 2014 release from idiosyncratic director Wes Anderson. The film is loosely inspired by the literature of early 20th century Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. Director and co-writer Anderson had never even heard of Zweig until about seven years prior to the film’s release when a chance purchase of Zweig’s novel Beware of Pity set the wheels in motion that ultimately culminated with the most commercial successful film for Anderson to date. In addition to being a minor box office hit, The Grand Budapest Hotel tied with Birdman for the most Oscar nominations in 2015 and eventually wound up taking home four statues of the little naked bald-headed man.
As for Zweig’s contribution to the film, Anderson admits it is more of a “sense” than any direct link to the writer’s works. Among those “senses” is the correlation between the narrative’s indictment of Nazi brutality and Zweig’s own courageous stand against the rise of fascism. The vague atmosphere of sadness which somehow manages to pervade throughout what is actually a very joyous comedic narrative is perhaps attributable the influence of Zweig as well: the author committed suicide in exile in Brazil in 1941, at the height of the fear that Hitler just might succeed in taking over the world.