Paul Thomas Anderson on Making 'Inherent Vice' Look Like a 'Faded Postcard'

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Filmmaker Magazine talks to auteur Paul Thomas Anderson about Inherent Vice, his zany detective movie that takes place in the late '60s and early '70s and is based on the Thomas Pynchon novel.

"[DP] Robert [Elswit] and I talked about making the film feel like a faded postcard; you want it to look like a movie from 1970, but you don’t want it to feel like a pastiche," Anderson says about the film's distinct look. "I had a bunch of film in my garage that was improperly stored – it was 10 or 15 years old – and we shot some tests with it, and one of two things would always happen. Either it inspired us, because the blacks were very milky and the colors were a bit faded in a great way, or it was damaged beyond repair and you got no exposure at all. We wanted to use it but you couldn’t really depend on it at the risk of not getting anything, so we would use it here and there and a couple of the shots made it into the movie. More importantly, it served as a kind of inspiration for us to say, “This looks great, how can we use our modern film stocks and lenses to try to replicate that kind of look?”"

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