Wes Anderson is one of the few filmmakers currently working whose very name brings to mind a distinctive style, a mode of filmmaking that relies on artifice to illuminate truths about life and death.

From "Bottle Rocket" to "Moonrise Kingdom" and the upcoming "The Grand Budapest Hotel," the 44-year-old Texan has constructed a cinematic universe that has become so pervasive it provided the inspiration for "Saturday Night Live's" best parody in years last weekend. (Watch the video below)

The new book "The Wes Anderson Collection," from New York Magazine TV critic and RogerEbert.com editor-in-chief Matt Zoller Seitz, offers an indispensable chronicle of Anderson's career, including essays, extensive interviews, fascinating anecdotes and apt illustrations. amNewYork spoke with Seitz about it.

This is quite an elaborate book. How long did it take and what was your inspiration?

It took about three years to put together. It was really just that I've been fascinated by style, particularly the visual aspects of style in movies, where it comes from and how an artist can grow up being influenced by other artists and then turn that into something unique, hopefully. ? He's an amazing director, he's very distinctive and there's a lot to talk about.

Was he sold initially, or did it take some convincing?

It took some convincing. He liked the video essay series I did back in 2009, "The Substance of Style". He had contacted me to say that he liked it, but he was uncomfortable with the idea of an entire book about his style, one that he participated in. There was never any question I was going to do a book about Wes Anderson. What was not certain was whether or not he would be an active participant in the form of being interviewed. But eventually he agreed to it.

What does he think of the finished product?

He likes it a lot. He's very excited about it. He's gotten to the point where he emailed me not too long ago to say he was in a video store in London and a manager came out with 16 copies of the book and asked him to sign them all. And he did, and he said in exchange for that they gave him the new Ryan Gosling film for free.

Why do you think Anderson's work is so easily dismissed by some?

I think there is a tremendous tendency to mistake a very distinctive visual style for evidence of superficiality. We've seen it time and time again throughout cinema history. Some of the great directors in the history of cinema have to deal with the same things that Wes has had to deal with. Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Jacques Tati. I find it ironic that film is a visual medium and yet the directors who are very strongly visual or even primarily visual are the ones that often have the most trouble being taken seriously by critics.

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