How Boogie Nights Became The Master: The Cinema of Paul Thomas Anderson

January 19 - February 16, 2017

Over the last two decades, Paul Thomas Anderson has emerged as one of America's great filmmakers. Nearly twenty years ago, Anderson directed Boogie Nights at age 26, cementing a reputation as a young Scorsese of Southern California's San Fernando Valley. Now his oeuvre is one of dysfunctional families, an American past filled with greed and corruption, and some of the most memorable performances of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. This class series looks at the work of the cinematic master known affectionately to his fans as "PTA" - from his early short film work to his recent adaption of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice.

Class Specifics
5 Thursdays: January 19 - February 16, 2017
7:00pm - 9:00pm
SIFF Film Center Classroom
$60 / $50 SIFF Members

WEEKLY CLASS BREAKDOWN:
January 19: The Beginnings
This week looks at Anderson's filmmaking journey from his teenage years to his first major hit, Hard Eight.

January 26: The Valley
This week looks at the San Fernando Valley as the setting of some of Anderson's most iconic films (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch Drunk Love).

February 2: "We May be Through With the Past..."
After a five-year absence, PTA entered a new phase in his career with a series of films that explore some of the darker aspects of the American past. This week, we will look at how this new journey began with 2007's There Will Be Blood.

February 9: "But the Past Ain't Through With Us"
In this week, we will look at how The Master explores the effects of World War II on the American cultural landscape and harkens back to filmmaking traditions pioneered by John Huston and Stanley Kubrick.

February 16: Back to L.A.
This final week will look at Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice, a story about a moment in history when the counterculture dream turned into a nightmare.

Class Workload:
Registrants are expected to be familiar with Paul Thomas Anderson's filmography, preferably having recently viewed all of his feature films before the class begins. All films listed in the Weekly Class Breakdown are largely available streaming and through DVD rental locations and web services. There are no required readings but suggested readings may be emailed in advance of specific classes.

About the Instructor:
John Trafton is a film historian and writer from the Seattle area. He is the author of several works on cinema history, including the book The American Civil War and the Hollywood War Film. His work focuses on how history is portrayed on film, war and cinema, the Horror genre, and pre-cinema spectacle art. He has a PhD in Film Studies from the University of St. Andrews, and has taught cinema on both sides of the Atlantic for over six years.