The Persistence of Vision: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Auterism

Inherent vice
By  · Published on November 20th, 2017

Selfishness in direction, but in the best possible way.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most predominant examples of a modern auteur working today. His films, including Inherent Vice, The Master, There Will Be Blood, and Boogie Nights, are all inextricably his. Figuring out how to put his imagination on screen is the kind of administrative creativity that spawned the personality-driven definition of auteurism in the first place.

While many of his influences and contemporaries maintain some kind of creative signature that manifests in their films, Anderson is one of the only to write all his own scripts and thus own the filmmaking process from start to finish.

Understanding how this new master operates, or how he thinks he operates, is something that will be (and probably already is) the subject of heavy film school tomes. However, if you don’t want to wait for that or follow Anderson’s philosophy that film school is a waste of time and money, there’s a video. Simeon Williams coordinated Anderson’s conversation with Charlie Rose to line up with some of the filmmaker’s most famous shots, putting image to idea.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).