The fashion world of 1950s London was certainly the scene. It was a setting where what was considered beautiful and artful collided to imbue an aesthetic feast for both the eyes and the mind. Combine that element with the most anticipated movie of the year 2017 and you’ve got a soon-to-be masterpiece in the works.
The new trailer for Phantom Thread has dropped and it looks every bit as enticing and glorious to look at as you’d think. Well just check it out below.
Not much has been known about Phantom Thread with the exception of its premise and it being #DanielDayLewis’ final onscreen portrayal. The new film looks like it will be an interestingly melancholic look at the fashion and entertainment world directed by Federico Fellini…I mean Paul Thomas Anderson.
Any respective and self-proclaimed cinephile is familiar with the work of Fellini and no doubt saw Phantom Thread’s trailer crafted with his similarly creative touch.
A new Paul Thomas Anderson film is an event. The filmmaker is less likely to churn out another film as often as his colleagues, but when he does — it seems like the world stops to offer up every bit of their attention to him (or at least mine does).
There Will Be Blood is a highly acclaimed period piece that many often cite as a prime example of 21st century cinema at its finest as well as evidence that the film industry is nowhere near dead amid a tsunami of remakes and superhero franchises.
Anderson is a cinephile’s dream, a self-taught filmmaker who obtained his knowledge of filmmaking by going to the movies. He revels in his references and influences. It is quite fair to say that Phantom Thread is just as for Federico Fellini as There Will Be Blood was for John Huston and his film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Even the film's released synopsis screams out all the things we associate with a Fellini film.
Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love. With his latest film, Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey, and the women who keep his world running. Phantom Thread is Paul Thomas Anderson’s eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis.
Fellini is a quintessential Italian director known for his infusion of magical realism with drama to offer up an examination of the creative spirit among identity crisis.
His films La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 are highly regarded as some of the greatest films of all-time. Both are companion pieces that dared to delve into the entertainment world and our pop culture fixtures. The films try to understand the creative process and the yearning for something to identify with amid working in the crazy world that is the entertainment business. A business where you are somewhat forced to give up on your identity and usher a preconceived one. A fake personality, if you will, that is heavily documented by people with cameras and notepads.
Interestingly, La Dolce Vita coined the term paparazzi with the character of Paparazzo. A photographer with no boundaries and follows the famous around Rome.
La Dolce Vita examines Marcello Rubini, played by Marcello Mastroianni, a gossip journalist who wanders the seedily luxurious life of Rome for seven days and seven nights. The film is told in a series of dream-like vignettes that symbolize Marcello’s search for meaning in a life less fruitful.
He dreams of no longer following the newest scandal and celebrity controversy, instead trading it in for a more aristocratic life as a writer. Throughout these vignettes, Marcello is confronted by the struggles of his identity through the form of several important characters in his life.
With the exception of his established writer friend, most of these characters are women. This may seem like an arbitrary inclusion at first, but serve as much more than that as the film progresses. The obsessively in love Emma, the manipulative Maddalena, and Sylvia, a spoiled American actress.
Like Day-Lewis’ character, Reynolds Woodcock, Marcello lives a luxurious bachelor life of excess within a celebrity culture. Phantom Thread’s synopsis makes light of the film’s women. They come and go, providing influence and intrigue in his life, but they are still, somehow, missing from his life greatly.
Just like Marcello, Guido Anselmi (also played by Mastroianni), is a creative type who is lost in fame and ambition while trying to find his role in it. In 8 1/2, Fellini ramps up the quantity of women for Guido’s life. His family, his confidant Rossella, his wife Luisa, his mistress Carla, a prostitute named La Saraghina, and, finally, a young muse deemed the most beautiful woman by Guido named Claudia.
Like Claudia, Alma becomes the muse for Reynolds Woodcock in Phantom Thread, the ideal image of strong-willed purity. 8 1/2 is famously semi-autobiographical. With the success of La Dolce Vita, Fellini was forced to replicate that success, but not before suffering from all sorts of creative blocks.
8 1/2 follows Guido, a renowned filmmaker working on his latest epic science fiction film. As he attempts to overcome the creative hill laid before him, Guido goes back through every bit of his past through the use of flashbacks and dream sequences. However, mostly through the women in his life, these pasts come back to light even brighter.
Day-Lewis’ Reynolds is a struggling artist losing his creative grasp on his business of fashion. He has his sister Cyril and his German muse Alma to thrust him into a world unknown to him.
From the look of the trailer, it seems to be a romantic drama of sorts, but being that it is a Paul Thomas Anderson film and stars the incredibly selective Daniel Day-Lewis, we can assume it will venture into romantic drama territory, albeit unconventionally, kind of like Anderson did with the bleak — yet inspiring — Punch-Drunk Love.
Fellini and Mastroianni are by far my favorite actor/director collaborators to ever grace the silver screen, if Anderson and Day-Lewis can pull off another modern-day classic, than they will rival the iconic Italian duo and become their 21st century counterparts.
Phantom Thread opens on Christmas Day (just in time for the Oscars) and we can expect the film to garner some recognition in not only directing and acting, but cinematography and art and costume design.