WHO is he?

American script writer and film director making movies since the Nineties critically celebrated as an important figure in the country’s film scene. Anderson started making films at a very young age and did not attend film school. He won the top award of Berlin Film Festival — the Golden Bear — for his sprawling hyperlink film Magnolia (1999) in the year 2000.

WHAT are his films about?

Themes

It is of special interest that, in an era where grand themes and serious examination are considered passé, Anderson deals with big themes such as familial breakdown and social dysfunction that would be at home in an earlier era. (In the ambitious There Will Be Blood (2007), these ideas are taken to a different level altogether). Anderson’s characters often face a moment of crisis which disrupts their everyday routine and rips open complexes, shortcomings and fallibilities hitherto suppressed. He is interested in how characters shape themselves during and after these crucial moments.

Style

The stylistic influences Paul Thomas Anderson cites are variegated and range from Max Ophüls and Federico Fellini to Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese. He frequently employs forward dolly and steady cam that are often used to construct long, unbroken shots running for several minutes. Also characteristic is his Altman-like sound design consisting of multiple tracks and his generous use of non-diegetic music that sometimes spans several scenes.

WHY is he of interest?

Director Quentin Tarantino called Paul Thomas Anderson his greatest contemporary and numerous film magazines have called him one of the finest filmmakers in Hollywood today. With a handful of films in his kitty and a reclusive disposition, Anderson is also among the few modernist filmmakers in that industry who evades easy irony and postmodernist apathy and believes in the powers of the medium and the grand ideas he can explore with it.

WHERE to discover him?

A work that takes a notable stylistic break from the previous films by the director, Punch-drunk Love (2002) stars popular comic actor Adam Sandler as a chronic social misfit, not unlike the characters he plays in his comedies. In a sense, the film is an analysis of those Adam Sandler films and the typical man-child character he plays. In effect, Punch-drunk Love turns a widely derided character inside out, by bringing to surface the male frustration and angst pent up in him