Paul Thomas Anderson Made a Secret Documentary About Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood

By August 23, 2015

Paul Thomas Anderson has made a name for himself as some kind of indie savior. While some nitpickers out there will tell you that PTA’s films aren’t necessarily “indie” (and yes, I know what you mean), he’s respected as one for the way his movies continue to challenge not only the viewer, but also the industry and his fellow filmmakers in interesting and new ways. Quentin Tarantino has even been quoted as calling PTA his greatest filmmaking rival and friend, and it’s hard to disagree with the man if you compare the two writers and directors’ filmographies up to this point.

However, aside from seemingly making event movies in the film world once every three years or so, PTA has made a name for himself as a guy who will just do any kind of project he wants, without making a big deal about it. In fact, it was only a month or so ago when Joanna Newsom’s latest music video was released, and revealed to have been directed by Anderson, with the two talents reuniting after Newsom played a key role in his latest feature film, Inherent Vice. So I guess this news, shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise.

Earlier this year, Radiohead‘s Jonny Greenwood announced that he would be traveling to India to record a new record with Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur. Well, it looks like he didn’t go by himself. It has officially been announced that a new short documentary from Paul Thomas Anderson will be debuting at this year’s New York Film Festival, titled Junun, and chronicles Greenwood’s trip to India. Told through the lenses of PTA’s cameras, the film is said to be a touching film about the process of creating music with someone else.

Here’s the film’s official synopsis:

“Earlier this year, Paul Thomas Anderson joined his close friend and collaborator Jonny Greenwood on a trip to Rajasthan in northwest India, where they were hosted by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, and he brought his camera with him. Their destination was the 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort, where Greenwood (with the help of Radiohead engineer Nigel Godrich) was recording an album with Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and an amazing group of musicians: Aamir Bhiyani, Soheb Bhiyani, Ajaj Damami, Sabir Damami, Hazmat, and Bhanwaru Khan on brass; Ehtisham Khan Ajmeri, Nihal Khan, Nathu Lal Solanki, Narsi Lal Solanki, and Chugge Khan on percussion; Zaki Ali Qawwal, Zakir Ali Qawwal, Afshana Khan, Razia Sultan, Gufran Ali, and Shazib Ali on vocals; and Dara Khan and Asin Khan on strings. The finished film, just under an hour, is pure magic. Junun lives and breathes music, music-making, and the close camaraderie of artistic collaboration. It’s a lovely impressionistic mosaic and a one-of-a-kind sonic experience: the music will blow your mind.”

I’m a huge fan of when filmmakers go out and decide to just make a project without telling anyone else about it. With all the press some of these celebrated directors and writers get every time they come out with something new, it’s likely that they might want to return to their grass roots forms of filmmaking that they began with, and it’s always a nice surprise whenever one of these “secret” films is released.

Greenwood has composed the scores for the last three films by PTA, including There Will Be Blood, The Master, and Inherent Vice, and this seems along the same lines of what he did with Newsom for her music video earlier this year, only much, much more ambitious. With this now in his belt though, Anderson is yet another major filmmaker this year to make a secret short documentary following Christopher Nolan’s documentary about the Quay Brothers. I think it’s safe to say that for all you film buffs out there though, this won’t be one to miss.

Junun is set to premiere at the New York Film Festival in October.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable