As a precursor to his new album, Thom Yorke of Radiohead is the star of Paul Thomas Anderson’s newest short, Anima. The film is a 15-minute piece that focuses on music and movement, constructing an emotional atmosphere for its viewers.
Anima showcases a surreal narrative through the course of three songs from Yorke’s latest album: Not the News, Traffic and Dawn Chorus. The frontman acts as the lead and the audience follows his character’s journey, dancing through the city. At first, he is shown on a busy train, reminiscent of London’s underground, depressed and tired. As the songs change the action shifts from a laborious station to Paris and Prague, where he finds a connection with a mysterious woman. The short tells its tale through beautiful visuals and emotive movement that feel tender and empathetic; however, it struggles to establish a clear ending and a sense of story while doing so.
Although a beautiful piece, Anima feels abrupt in its conclusion. Each song sequence ends in a relatively similar way, which leads to confusion after the penultimate segment as it seems as if there will be another track instead of the credits appearing on the screen. For this reason, the work, in many ways, feels more along the lines of a music video than a classic short in terms of plot. However, the emotion Yorke’s music evokes, and the strong choreography by Damien Jalet, cannot be simply dismissed. The music is truly a standout of the film, with the movement and visuals elevating its powerful impact. There is an emotional narrative buried in the music but while probably fully exposed in Yorke’s new album, it’s hardly explored in this piece.
Anima by Paul Thomas Anderson is now available to watch on Netflix and will, without a doubt, be an emotional experience for its new viewers.
Anima is released digitally on Netflix on 27th June 2019.
Watch the trailer for Anima here: