Surprise, surprise! Paul Thomas Anderson, director of There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights, is returning with a new short film, which he made with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. The short, titled Anima, is set to debut on Netflix next week. The short is being released in conjunction with Yorke's new solo album of the same name. The heralded musician is pulling out all the stops for his latest solo effort.
The teaser doesn't give us much to go on. We get a taste of the music that will be incorporated into the short. We also get Thom Yorke peeking at the camera from behind a wall. The whole thing is comprised of some very trippy imagery, which is on brand for both Yorke and Paul Thomas Anderson. It's being referred to as a "one-reeler." In the beginning of the teaser, that is defined as follows.
"A motion picture, especially a cartoon or comedy, of 10-12 minutes duration and contained on one reel of film; popular especially in the era of silent films."
Netflix didn't offer much else. They call it a "mind-bending visual piece" and suggest that it is "best played loud." The streaming service will be rolling out Anima in select IMAX theaters on June 26, before its made available for subscribers on June 27. The short will feature three tracks from Thom Yorke's forthcoming album, which will arrive on streaming services the same day the short is released. Yorke recently announced a string of tour dates, which many believed suggested he was indeed going to be releasing new music soon. Though, it's hard to imagine anyone guessed he would be teaming with Paul Thomas Anderson in this capacity.
This serves as the follow-up to the 2017 Paul Thomas Anderson effort Phantom Thread, which served as Daniel Day Lewis' final movie, assuming the actor is good to his word. This is far from the first time that PTA and Thom Yorke have collaborated with one another. Anderson directed several videos for Radiohead, including ones for Daydreaming and another for The Numbers. Anderson has also worked with Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood several times in the past. Greenwood provided the score for There Will Be Blood, The Master, Inherent Vice and Phantom Thread. So there's a lot of history and connectivity there.
This is just one small part of Netflix's large investment in original content. The good news is that they can invest in something like this, which might not have found a home anywhere, even just a handful of years ago. Thom Yorke released his first solo album, The Eraser, in 2009. He followed that up with his sophomore solo record, Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, in 2014. Those who are hoping to score a physical copy of Anima will have to wait until July 19. Pre-orders for Vinyl/CD copies of the album are available now. Be sure to check out the trailer for Anima from the Netflix YouTube channel for yourself.