What Makes a Paul Thomas Anderson’s Film
Paul Thomas Anderson never ceases to fascinate, because of his aesthetic, his storytelling technique, his ability to tell ambitious stories from the get-go and his uncompromising love for Cinema.
For film-lovers looking to stamp “Master” on names, Paul Thomas Anderson falls within the second wave of filmmakers, the “new guard” composed of David Fincher, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino. (And I’m not saying that it’s a truth, but there’s a tendency for self-proclaimed cinephiles to love white Masters. Coppola, Scorsese, Kubrick, Spielberg were the 70/80s, Fincher, Nolan, Quentin and PTA blossomed in the 90s.)
But there’s another something that haunts and feeds PTA’s work, just like there’s something that haunts and feeds each and every filmmaker. It takes a few films and decades to see it coming through, but once you do, it becomes even more apparent.
In his video essay/homage: ‘Paul Thomas Anderson: a Chronological Timeline’, Jeremy Ratzlaff looks at PTA’s work, putting all his films in chronological order.
Three elements come out of each film, like a thread that slightly evolves and changes, but remains here no matter what:
– the theme of Family
– the theme of Grace
– the theme of a Master
And for Ratzlaff, the Grace element is what differentiates PTA from his fellow filmmakers.
It’s interesting to look back at PTA’s work chronologically and realize that none of his films take place after 2002. I made a small timeline for an easier overview:
Watch the video essay below: