Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Paul

26th June 1970

With 23 years old, wrote and directed Cigarettes and Coffee, named after Jarmush's Coffee and Cigarettes, a 30 minute multiplot short film which screened at the Sundance Film Festival (1993), granting him access to the subsequent edition of the festival's Lab. There he developed the critically acclaimed Sydney (the studio would rename it Hard Eight) which premiered at the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes'96, throwing him to the spotlights as one of the most promising American filmmakers of his generation. In 1997 he released Boogie Nights, an adaptation of his own 1988 The Dirk Digler Story short mockumentary, from a script he wrote in 1995, has a therapy for the production and distribution issues Sydney was facing. Got nominated for Best Original Screenplay and started to pull out, as one of his trademarks, major performances from the actors (Moore and Reynold went for Best Suporting Actress/Actor). In 1999 Thomas Anderson wrote and directed the melodramatic epic Magnolia, with Tom Cruise, Philip Seymor Hoffman, Juliane Moore, Philip Baker Hall, William Macy, John C. Reilly and other stars. The film was a mosaic depicting the journeys of redemption and faith among the sincere, unpredictable and circumstantial relationships the world allows us to establish. Lost Best Original Screenplay to Alan Ball's American Beauty and got Tom Cruise for Best Supporting Actor and Aimee Mann for Best Original Song. Three years latter he shows the world a new Adam Sandler in his Punch-Drunk Love, a box-office flop but a success in the reviews. The director says the golden age meets nouvelle vague lens-flared sensitive romance is his most personal work, coming "right from my stomach". It granted him Best Director at Cannes'02. PTA's masterpiece, so far, came after his longest interregnum. In 2007 he wrote and directed another epic, this time a period piece with the beginning of the century oil prospections in Texas as a backdrop - There Will Be Blood. Starring Daniel Day Lewis in one of the greatest performances I've ever seen (also, one of my all-time favorite movies), the film received eight Academy nominations, winning Best Actor for Daniel and Best Cinematography for Elswitt (Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Man took the other major categories). Paul Thomas Anderson is now shooting the religious drama The Master and is already working on the adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice, a psychedelic dope neo-noir story in the 1960 L.A.

At the young age of 41, PTA has his films scattered all over lists for best films of the decade and of all time and is considered one of the most crafted and talented screenwriters and directors of the seventh art.

Happy Birthday, Paul. Thank you very much.

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