Sunday, 18 February 2018

Phantom Thread

Watching a 70mm print of Phantom Thread made me realize how quickly we have got used to digital projection in the last decade and how it's taken some of the romance out of cinema going. When we see film projected these days it can't help but seem nostalgic. The imperfections of the medium that give it it's warmth; the bob & weave, the dust sparkle, the splice marks between reels etc. are far more noticeable now our eyes have got used to clean lines and crisp digital pictures.

Most films that are presented on 70mm do so in order to show off the greater depth of latitude that film offers over digital but I was interested to hear that Paul Thomas Anderson's reasons for shooting on 35mm and then blowing up to 70mm were actually to highlight the imperfections of film. He wanted to dirty up the image and give it more grain, feeling that 35mm stock has become too good, too clean and too close to the digital images that have replaced it.

The film is a triumphant return to form for Anderson after his last film, the divisive Inherent Vice (2014) left many viewers bewildered (myself included). Daniel Day Lewis is excellent as always in what he says will be his last acting role and Jonny Greenwood finally gets an oscar nod for his lush versatile score and stakes a claim for the title of greatest film composer of the modern era.

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