Paul Thomas Anderson's Music Videos: 11 Clips From Radiohead, Fiona Apple, Joanna Newsom & More
Paul Thomas Anderson has directed some of the most acclaimed films of the past two decades, from Boogie Nights and Magnolia to There Will Be Blood and 2014's trippy Thomas Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice. In between, though, he's also dipped into the music video world, directing 11 clips for a variety of artists, including longtime girlfriend Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, producer/composer Jon Brion and beloved harpist/singer Joanna Newsom.
His latest mini-masterpiece is the haunting clip for Radiohead's "Daydreaming," which continues Anderson's fascination with setting musicians in constant motion through odd, shifting landscapes.
Here's a look at some of Anderson's music video work.
Michael Penn, "Try" (1997)
Filmed the same year he released breakthrough Boogie Nights, the video for "Try" features a pretty straightforward narrative, mostly following Penn as he takes a fast stroll through a mysterious hallways filled with office workers, marathon runners, pounding storms, snow and snipers who repeatedly shoot him.
Fiona Apple, "Across the Universe" (1998)
Apple recorded the Beatles classic for the soundtrack to the movie Pleasantville. In keeping with his love of long tracking shots, the dramatic black and white video has a smiling Apple floating impassively through a chaotic world where men are smashing up a 1950s diner.
Fiona Apple, "Fast as You Can" (1999)
More experimental film than straight music vid, the clip for this Apple single consists of a series of close-ups of the singer in a variety of film stocks, abandoning narrative to focus on Apple's intense gaze.
Aimee Mann, "Save Me" (1999)
In keeping with his tradition of working with artists whose music is featured in his films, this subtle accompaniment to the Magnolia soundtrack places Mann as an unseen observer of various characters from the film, including Julianne Moore, Jason Robards, William H. Macy, Tom Cruise and John C. Reilly.
Fiona Apple, "Limp" (2000)
The Apple collaboration continues with this moody effort bathed in deep blue, in which Apple wanders through an empty mansion and puts together a puzzle.
Fiona Apple, "Paper Bag" (2000)
For the second single from Apple's 1999 album When the Pawn..., Anderson stages a dark cabaret scene, with Apple playing the part of the ingénue in a red dress, surrounded by zoot suit-wearing child dancers in a quasi homage of the 1976 all-kid gangster movie Bugsy Malone.
Jon Brion, "Here We Go" (2002)
For the gentle Beatlesque ballad from the producer who worked on the soundtracks to Anderson's film debut Hard Eight, Magnolia, and 2002's dark comedy Punch-Drunk Love, Anderson goes small, focusing on scenes from the film involving despondent star Adam Sandler stumbling through life.
Fiona Apple, "Hot Knife" (2013)
By 2013, Anderson surely knew how to properly showcase the quirky singer, shifting between black and white and color close-ups of her expressive mouth and a triptych of Apple singing three-part harmonies in a clip that has a high-end student film vibe.
Joanna Newsom, "Sapokanikan" (2015)
Anderson lets the indie harpist loose on the streets of New York, where he follows her dancing, skipping and singing on the sidewalks to the seeming disinterest of the city's seen-it-all late night wanderers.
Joanna Newsom, "Divers" (2015)
In one of his most abstract videos, Anderson floats an ethereal Newsom's head in a picturesque valley filled with puffy clouds that subtly shift color and shape over the course of the seven-minute track.
Radiohead, "Daydreaming" (2016)
In a kind of throwback to his first video, Anderson trails Radiohead singer Thom Yorke as he walks through a series of doorways that take him through office buildings, homes, laundromats, beaches and an empty parking garage.