What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Paul Thomas Anderson? If the answer isn’t “hot dogs,” you might not be paying attention. A new Clickhole video essay seeks to remedy that via a closer look at PTA’s use of hot-dog shapes in his films, which have clearly emerged as a leitmotif in the “Phantom Thread” director’s esteemed body of work.
“The mood of a film has a huge impact on our experience of it, and it can be established in several ways, including through lighting and color,” begins the narrator of “The Geometry of Emotion.” “But geometrical shapes can also create mood in films, influencing our experience without us even realizing it. To understand this better, let’s look at how director Paul Thomas Anderson uses hot-dog shapes in his films to create mood.”
Case in point: the opening shot of “There Will Be Blood,” described here as a tableaux of three distinct hot-dog shapes that “seem to loom threateningly over the world of the film.” PTA doesn’t confine his use of hot dogs to just one film, of course; his work abounds in them. “Boogie Nights,” “Inherent Vice,” “Magnolia,” and “The Master” all make liberal use of the ballpark staple, but they’re outdone by “Phantom Thread.”
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Watch the entire “Geometry of Emotion” video below.