For a while there cinephiles were left drooling for years waiting for a new Paul Thomas Anderson film, with five years between “Punch Drunk Love” and “There Will Be Blood,” and another five between the latter and “The Master.” Which makes the past couple of years seem especially fruitful for the auteur.
He followed “The Master” up quickly with the excellent “Inherent Vice” last year, and this year has seen a handful of delightful surprises to wet our whistle. PTA dropped the fantastic surprise doc “Junjun” with Shye Ben Tzur and Jonny Greenwood at the New York Film Festival (it is already available on MUBI), and the past week has seen the limited theatrical run of his second music video for harpist Joanna Newsom. Let’s just say some of us have been giddy the past few weeks.
Now, to take us back through some of PTA’s best work, there is a new video essay from the Fairview Film Club: “Paul Thomas Anderson: The ‘It’ Factor.” The video breaks down some of PTA’s finest tricks, the depth of his work, and the rich and layered influences that abound in his films. Focusing on his love for all things cinema (unafraid to wear his influences on his sleeve, PTA is one of the finest examples of a student of film; the guy knows his shit), his balletic camera work, and the way he works music into everything he does. The essay even takes a look at the excellent and inventive score work by Jonny Greenwood on “There Will Be Blood” and “The Master,” and Jon Brion’s work on “Punch Drunk Love.”
It’s always a joy to explore the mastery of PTA, so check out “The ‘It’ Factor” below and sound off with your favorite PTA flicks in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the limited run of Newsom’s “Divers” — there’s still time.