‘ANIMA’, The New Thom Yorke-Paul Thomas Anderson One-Reeler Film Reviewed
The movie is only 10 or 12 minutes, I have lost track of time without my phone that they took away at the entrance of the Imax, but the new Thom Yorke-Paul Thomas Anderson mini-movie is pure delight. I may be completely biased because I am a fan of both men but this collaboration surely looked like the dream team to me.
‘Anima’ works like an extended video for Thom’s upcoming album of the same name, a companion for this next solo work, his first since 2014’s ‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’. However, it’s really a purely musical movie, with no dialogue, but following Thom in a dark and angsty world, which often looks like an Eastern Europe country – it was actually filmed in Prague, Czech Republic and in Baux-de-Provence, France. ‘Anima’ is first a highly skilled choreographed movie from start to finish, part dystopia, part fairy tale, as Thom finds his woman, and the light on his face at the end of the movie, is the most PTA moment since the ending of ‘Magnolia’, with the camera on Claudia’s smile lightening up her face when she knows she is loved.
From the first minute till the end, people dance and move like a perfect unity in a beautiful and modern ballet choreographed by Damien Jalet, who also did the choreography of the remake of ‘Suspiria’. An army of all-dressed-alike people bounce with robotic moves in the subway at the sound of Thom Yorke’s new glitchy compositions – three songs, ‘Not The News’, ’Traffic’, ’Dawn Chorus’, which will bring to mind his previous ‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’ as well as ‘Amok’ – and everything, as image and music are in perfect symbiosis, seems to depict anxiety in a society in crisis. During the first minutes of the movie, Thom tries to escape the mechanical sea of the worker stream with poetic moves, he swims against the flow but the struggle surfacing at each image appears light and aerial because of the surreal choreography.
The movie is a one-reeler, ‘a motion picture especially a cartoon or comedy of 10-12 minutes duration and contained on one reel of film’, a popular format, especially in the era of silent movies… and Thom Yorke is certainly the new hero of this not-so-silent movie (he, of course, sings all the songs) looking like a new Modern Times’ Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, dancing in Kafka’s native city with moves as smooth as an updated Gene Kelly’s effortless genius. This is the beauty of ‘Anima’, which nevertheless could not be reduced to a simple homage
We were asked to not duplicate it, rip it or sell it on Ebay, and it was like an extra level of confidence expected from fans. I know that Radiohead/PTA fans are not ordinary people, they are infinitely passionate about both men, but I don’t expect that everyone will respect this wishful thinking,… as someone put it, ‘There will be FLACs’!
‘Anima’ was shot in VistaVision, a higher resolution and widescreen format which was created by Paramount Pictures in 1954. It can currently be seen in select IMAX theaters, but it will hit Netflix on June 27th.