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Is Paul Thomas Anderson the Last American Auteur?

Actors Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim run next to each other in this still from the film "Licorice Pizza."
Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim are unlikely friends in Licorice Pizza.

On today's show, Ethan Warren is in conversation with Tom Knoblauch about his new book "The Cinema of Paul Thomas Anderson: American Apocrypha."

Paul Thomas Anderson, known for the films "Boogie Nights," "Punch Drunk Love," "There Will Be Blood" and many others, may be one of the last American auteurs. The term, French for "author," grew out of the French New Wave and eventually made its way to America by the 1960s, where film directors asserted control and authorship over their films.

The concept has come to represent a kind of rebellion against the corporate content machine: a lone, independent cowboy of authenticity in the arts. Today, while the theory is still around, it’s difficult for a filmmaker to sustain commercial viability as a brand while the film industry finds itself shifting in the streaming age.

Ethan Warren is a writer, critic and filmmaker based in Boston.

Courtney is back in her hometown after graduating from the University of Kansas in 2019 with degrees in journalism and film. While at KU, she was the arts and culture editor of the University Daily Kansan and had a summer internship at KCUR, Kansas City's NPR member station. She has three pet rats and has seen almost every Audrey Hepburn movie.
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