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Paul Thomas Anderson revealed his ultimate "comfort movie"

Paul Thomas Anderson gained entry to the pantheon of great modern filmmakers a while back. While he had made gems such as Boogie Nights and Magnolia in the 1990s when he first started directing features, Anderson established himself as an uncompromising auteur by following up with masterpieces like There Will Be Blood and The Master.

After a significant hiatus from the world of cinema, Anderson became a vital part of the conversation once again when he returned with his latest project Licorice Pizza last year. Set in the San Fernando Valley in the ’70s, the idea for the film had been in Anderson’s mind for a while but he got around to completing his vision only recently.

The film has already been cited as one of the greatest cinematic projects of 2021 and has earned enough accolades to substantiate such claims. Anderson’s effort was noticed by the Academy as well since he picked up Oscar bids for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay as well as a Best Picture nomination for Licorice Pizza.

Anderson is known as a serious cinephile and he has often listed his wide-ranging influences as a tribute to everything he learned from cinema. While moved by the unique visions of American auteurs such as Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles, Anderson was equally affected by the masters of global cinema, like Akira Kurosawa and François Truffaut.

At a time when he was undecided about his career, Anderson even signed up for NYU’s film school but quit only after two days because he had a terrible experience there and was put off by a professor who looked down on fans of Terminator 2. It is safe to say that Anderson made the right decision, especially considering the meteoric rise that would soon follow.

During the publicity campaign for his last feature Phantom Thread, Anderson logged onto Reddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session in 2018 and answered a lot of interesting questions that fans had for him. One of those questions asked the acclaimed director about the favourite comfort films that Anderson watched in times of distress.

The Birdcage! or anything by Steven Spielberg,” Anderson answered, declaring his love for Mike Nichols’ 1996 comedy which starred the likes of Robin Williams and Gene Hackman. The film was actually a remake of Édouard Molinaro’s 1978 work La Cage aux Folles and was a critical and commercial success, winning Anderson’s heart as well as the hearts of many other viewers around the world.