California Dreamin’ With “Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks”

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Film critic Adam Nayman has produced “something you do for a billion years, or not at all.” His newest book, Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks, created in collaboration with bi-monthly magazine Little White Lies, has been released to rave reviews. It’s a tome celebrating the eight-time Academy Award–nominated director, and is a design masterpiece.

The book is one in a series of monographs Little White Lies has completed with publisher Abrams. It has been a work-in-progress for nearly three years—and the dedication shows. Full of psychedelic imagery, archival photos, interviews and more, the vibe completely captures the complex realm of PTA’s cinematic stories.

From among the many interesting production aspects of this opus, one that stands out is how Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks is organized. Unlike most film books, this one isn’t grouped chronologically by theatric release dates. Instead, Nayman cataloged his commentary based on the historical eras of Anderson’s movies, with the overarching theme being “California.” Everything from the cover to the overarching color palette is inspired by the West Coast state’s history.

“The cover, for instance, was inspired by iconic Californian artist Ed Ruscha, who we felt tied into Anderson’s visions of the San Fernando Valley, where a number of his films are set,” the book’s senior designer, Tertia Nash, told Creative Review. “The design, ideally, acts as a gateway into his world that otherwise would be fairly imposing (this book runs at around 75,000 words). Using it to set the tone, visualize nuanced details and by adding brilliant illustrations, you can help create an accessible and immersive experience for the reader.”

Film buffs, design nerds and bibliophiles alike will find something to fawn over in this book. Grab your copy from Abrams here, and get lost in the California PTA dream.