The Contradictory Name of American Cinema: Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson takes pride of place amongst the contradictory and dissident voices in American cinema, following in the foot-steps of masters such as Kubrick, Scorsese and Altman. Anderson, who succeeds in surprising everyone with his language of expression and technical ability, is one of the most loved and, at the same time, the most distinguishing names of his generation. Putting his signature in his sixth full-length feature film by &ldquoThe Master&rdquo which is shown to be the masterpiece of filmography, this work of Anderson is already in the list of modern classics.

The birth of Paul Thomas Anderson is, in fact, like the herald of everything. Anderson was born on June 26, 1970 in Studio City, a very close point of California to Hollywood.

Mixture of Species

His movies are often characterized by a continuous camera movement, just like in the films of Jean Renoir and Max Ophuls. Anderson&rsquos films are like works made by the hands of a man with an encyclopedic knowledge on films and film criticism. Just like in the films of Francois Truffaut and Martin Scorsese. And he likes to work with a wide cast of actors in Robert Altmanesque style.

As in the cases of Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton, his films also describe excluded American sub-cultures, and his characters often consist of rejected individuals. For these reasons, it would be quite wrong to attribute his entire career to the final of the film &ldquoMagnolia.&rdquo Anderson, who also undertook script-writing, does not have any formal training in cinema. However, up to date, he has watched a lot of movies and done much research on the technicalities. He does not seem to mind admitting this fact.

The story of shooting his first short film is very interesting. He ventured into this with the money he won gambling what he had drawn from his girlfriend&rsquos credit card. But, he was soon discovered and he signed an agreement on the first movie. Firstly with &ldquoHard Eight&rdquo and &ldquoBoogie Nights&rdquo that met with audience in Cannes, and his most popular cult movie &ldquoMagnolia.&rdquo

First Move, First Success

&ldquoHard Eight,&rdquo produced in 1996, is perhaps the least known movie of the director. The film is about a man named Sydney&rsquos (Philip Baker Hall) sudden walk into the life of John (John C. Reilly) who is prone to losing and is in desperate need of money. Although it is not possible to claim &ldquoHard Eight&rdquo to be very successful, the film is significant in terms of harboring crucial clues on Anderson&rsquos future. Anderson received &ldquoBest First Film,&rdquo &ldquoBest Male Actor,&rdquo &ldquoBest Male Supporting Actor,&rdquo &ldquoBest First Screenplay,&rdquo and &ldquoBest Cinematography&rdquo awards with this film.

&ldquoBoogie Nights,&rdquo produced in 1997 which stared names such as Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle and Nicole Ari Parker starred, is, no doubt, one of the best movies of 90s. Getting Oscar awards in &ldquoBest Male Supporting Actor,&rdquo &ldquoBest Female Supporting Actress,&rdquo and &ldquoBest Original Screenplay,&rdquo this movie returned with many awards from several prestigious organizations including a Golden Globe and BAFTA.

Measure of Modern Classics

And it is that movie: &ldquoMagnolia&rdquo. Produced in 1999, the movie includes stars such as Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore and Felicity Huffman starring in lead roles. Being the longest Paul Thomas Anderson film, with the duration of 188 minutes, &ldquoMagnolia&rdquo pushed upon the audience an ambitious brain exercise with its confusing construction. Transfering the story of intersecting lives to the big screen with an extraordinary narrative, the film also harbors the unforgettable acting of Tom Cruise. The film, which earned Tom Cruise the &ldquoBest Male Supporting Actor&rdquo Oscar, has many more awards.

&ldquoPunch-Drunk Love,&rdquo produced in 2002 and starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary Lynn Rajksub and Luis Guzman, brought the &ldquoBest Director&rdquo award at Cannes. The film, narrating cross-sections from the world of an aggressive man with calm apperance adorned by his sisters and a mysterious woman, could not yield the desired outcome in box-office despite all the critical success. This movie of Anderson also returned with awards from Golden Globe and Cannes Film Festival.

A Contemporary Cult in American Cinema

Produced in 2007, &ldquoThere Will Be Blood&rdquo had already taken its place as a literature as a contemporary classic. The film, which is regarded to be one of the favorite productions of American cinema in 2000s, was also crowned with nomination by the Academy. Imprinted in the minds with its perfectly adapted screenplay from the memorable novel of Upton Sinclair, superior art of directing, and Robert Elswit&rsquos impressive cinematography, the film also draws attention with anti-capitalistic rhetoric. It was able to return with &ldquoBest Film,&rdquo &ldquoBest Director,&rdquo &ldquoBest Male Actor,&rdquo &ldquoBest Adapted Screenplay,&rdquo &ldquoBest Construct,&rdquo &ldquoBest Cinematography,&rdquo &ldquoBest Art Direction,&rdquo and &ldquoBest Sound Construct&rdquo awards from Oscar.

Having maintained a public silence since 2007 and spending his time with his wife Maya Rudolph and their three children, Anderson has made an ambitious comeback. &ldquoThe Master,&rdquo including names of artists such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Laura Dern in its cast, focuses on the obsessed and distorted relations of the American community with the concept of religion. Returning home with the &ldquoBest Director&rdquo award of &ldquoSilver Lion&rdquo from the Venice Film Festival in 2012, Anderson puts this time the former naval officer Freddie Sutton (Joaquin Phoenix), who returns home from World War II, at the center of the story. One of the most important details about the movie is that it was completely shot by 65 mm film that is almost never used today. Anderson is taking preparations for his movie called &ldquoInherent Vice,&rdquo which is expected to be released next year and which takes place in Los Angeles of 1960s.