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#InformedImages: Thom Yorke and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Anima"

#InformedImages is a Free Cinema Now series that studies and brings to light influential films and other examples of moving images that informed and inspired specific visuals in later works.

Paul Thomas Anderson shocked a lot of cinephiles last week when he dropped a new musical short film -- Anima -- on Netflix. Anima is a creative collaboration with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke; it immediately drew comparisons to Buster Keaton from several film writers. The Keaton comparison is fine and all but it is kind of a lazy summation in my opinion. To me, PTA's Punch-Drunk Love was more of a Buster Keaton homage if anything (just look at the sequence where Adam Sandler runs from the Four Blonde Brothers outside of a 99¢ Only Store).

I feel that Anima comes from a perfect storm of pretty random inspirations. Among them, some Bergman (Persona) and McQueen (Shame). The centerpiece of Anima, I believe, is a direct offspring of the 1989 Oscar-winning animated short film Balance. This extended sequence has Yorke and several other men in dark clothing try to retain their balance on a constantly shifting platform that hangs in a dark void.

Take a look at my latest #InformedImages video essay and see for yourself.