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Watch: A Video Essay on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Provocative Use of the Long Shot

Watch: A Video Essay on Paul Thomas Anderson's Provocative Use of the Long Shot

The characters in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson share many similarities.
They come from dysfunctional families, they are desperately seeking
acceptance, they let their emotions get the best of them, and the list
goes on. But a similarity that seems to especially stand out is a sense
of isolation. Anderson’s characters are adrift, looking for someone or
something to connect with in their lonely worlds. This idea is
expressed visually through the use of long/extreme long shots. We are
often presented with characters lost within the frame, and therefore
have trouble connecting with said characters–we become isolated
ourselves. Here is a look at Anderson’s use of the long/extreme long shot
throughout his first six feature films.

MUSIC: “Alethia” by Jonny Greenwood


Hard Eight (1996)
Boogie Nights (1997)


Punch-Drunk Love

There Will be Blood

The Master

Jacob T. Swinney is an industrious film editor and filmmaker, as well as a recent graduate of Salisbury University.

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