Paul Thomas Anderson marches to his own drum. He makes the movies he wants to make. He (largely) releases them on a schedule he’d like to keep. He doesn’t do the normal amount of press, but he’ll randomly show up at a theater, screen a film, hold a Q&A afterward and mingle with fans. This accessibility – this willingness to keep the conversation going – is part of the reason why the enigmatic PTA remains as respected as he is adored by the serious film-analyzing community.
Earlier this year, Anderson’s The Master made a splash on the film festival circuit due to its open-ended discussion points on organized religion and religious cults. The film was fueled by raw, riveting performances by Joaquin Phoneix and Philip Seymour Hoffman … but the movie never caught on at the box office. The Weinstein Company likely will do what it can to get The Master back into the conversation now that the Oscar map is laying out. And a video like this can only help. Anderson took to the stage following a 70mm screening of The Master at Astor Theater in Melbourne, Australia. It’s an hour-long conversation with an unusually reserved filmmaker, and for those who adored the film, it’s a must-watch. Check it out below:
I love the insight, obviously. But I also love Anderson interacting with fans in the lobby of the theater as Ella Fitzgerald’s spiritually unnerving tune “Get Thee Behind Me Satan” croons. And I love how PTA has to prompt the audience to applaud because the discussion is kind of going off the rails. These are all reminders of what a special, powerful and provocative piece of work The Master is, and what a unique talent PTA is. Hopefully it triggers you to revisit the film as the year draws to a close.
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