P.T. Anderson: Frames-Within-Frames
How the director behind "Phantom Thread" and "There Will Be Blood" uses the screen itself as a tool for storytelling.
In this video essay, I look at a visual device the writer/director has employed in all of his films: the frame within a frame. Sometimes, the “frame within a frame” is a literal movie within Anderson’s movie, such as the porn in Boogie Nights, or the film screened in the psychiatric hospital from Inherent Vice. But more often, Anderson uses doorframes, hallways, windows and other naturally occurring frames on location to act as a container for his characters. While not always conspicuous, after I removed the audio from the clips and isolated the shots, the visual frames stood out. This ode to Paul Thomas Anderson’s visual predilection captures a trend in his filmmaking that has not been explored before.