Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Very, Very Independent Roots
Watching a director in their earliest attempts can be highly enlightening about their future methods and work, as shown in this new video essay in the Raccord collective’s excellent Directors Series, made by Cameron Beyl, about the starting years of Paul Thomas Anderson. Not only do we glance at ‘The Dirk Diggler Story,’ the very cheaply made short that blossomed into ‘Boogie Nights,’ but we also take a look at ‘The Hard Eight,’ the gorgeous gambler drama that would give Gwyneth Paltrow one of her great early roles. Enjoy.
Watch: What If Paul Thomas Anderson’s Films Are All Reincarnations of Each Other?
As a filmmaker accumulates a body of work, it is inevitable that elements will recur, echoing each other and possibly growing in significance over time. Jeremy Ratzlaff proposes something slightly different about the work of Paul Thomas Anderson, suggesting that in fact his stories are all variations on each other, not an indicator of unoriginality but of symphonic intelligence. What if the tortured relationship between Daniel Plainview and Paul Sunday in ‘There Will Be Blood’ was reborn in the warped instructor-pupil relationship between Lancaster Dodd and Freddie Quell in ‘The Master’? What if the drug-addled protagonist of ‘Inherent Vice’ is actually Freddie Quell reborn? This is a finely made and meticulous consideration of an ancient truth.
Watch: What Props Do for The Films in Which They Appear, and Vice Versa
Can the heart of a film be its props? The light saber. The movie camera. The gun. The tape deck. These are all things we see as we watch our Spielberg, our Andersons, our Hitchcocks, our Godards, and yet we somehow view them as incidental. Rishi Kaneria argues, with this new video essay, that they are essential. He has set himself a difficult exercise here and exceeded its limits, taking us through the use of seemingly incidental items from the beginnings of film to its most recent developments.