Tag Archives: There Will Be Blood

P. T. Anderson: a narrative of tracking shots

At the BFI’s Sight and Sound, Kevin B. Lee has put together a video essay analyzing five representative tracking shots from Paul Thomas Anderson’s career, explaining how they function as storytelling techniques, and situating them in the context of his development as an auteur. It’s a great video, and I urge you to watch it (and don’t worry — there aren’t any spoilers, if you haven’t seen all the films discussed). One aspect upon which I’d like to comment a bit further is that Lee never uses the word auteur, either in the video or in the accompanying written introduction. Instead, by emphasizing the narrative of Anderson’s development as a filmmaker, he constructs a teleological narrative, one which tells the story of a young, brash, ambitious artist evolving into an older, just as ambitious, but more contemplative and subtle filmmaker. This raises a number of problematic issues which require some elaboration. Continue reading

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