The Ultimate Video Essay Guide to Paul Thomas Anderson

The film scholar’s favorite filmmaker.
By  · Published on May 19th, 2017

The film scholar’s favorite filmmaker.

In my experience, film critics and scholars are obsessed with Paul Thomas Anderson, and rightfully so – yes, I count myself among them – because Anderson combines old-school, classic filmmaking techniques with an innovative and modern storytelling style, resulting in films that feel simultaneously timeless and timely, familiar and groundbreaking. Anderson is a filmmaker who never rests on his laurels but rather stretches himself with each new endeavor, oscillating between contemplative (The Master) and gregarious (Boogie Nights), muted (Punch-Drunk Love) and outspoken (There Will Be Blood), and emotionally intimate (Hard Eight) and epic (Magnolia).

As such, there is no shortage of film commentary and criticism about Anderson and his work out there, and the realm of video essays is no exception. In the following 7 clips, two by yours truly, the impact of Anderson and his work is examined, both in broad strokes and minute ones, including his work in the world of music videos.

While this is by no means an exhaustive syllabus of the Master and his films, it’s an excellent place to start expanding your knowledge and understanding of an artist many consider the preeminent of his generation.

Water and Enlightenment in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’

The Soured Sweetness of Freddie Quell

Related Topics:

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist