Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson; Courtesy of AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

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Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective 

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of Hollywood’s most consistent directors. Though Anderson’s screenplays range from the absurd porn industry comedy Boogie Nights, to the cult drama The Master, his films feel as epic in scope and production as they are grounded in flawed characters and human performances. His latest release, Licorice Pizza, has generated a healthy amount of buzz heading into awards season, with star turns from newcomers Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim as they play a mismatched pair trying to navigate the ups and downs of business, love, and oncoming adulthood against the backdrop of 1970s Los Angeles. While the coming of age comedy continues its run in theaters, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center presents an accompanying retrospective of Anderson’s work, stretching all the way back to his 1996 debut, Hard Eight. Anderson’s varied filmography boasts a roster of frequent collaborators in front of and behind the camera. He’s been able to pull lasting performances from the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Daniel Day-Lewis, and has accompanied their performances with memorable scores by composer Jonny Greenwood, like in 2017’s Phantom Thread. If you only have room for one film in the series, make time for Anderson’s magnum opus, There Will Be Blood, showing from Feb. 25–28. There Will Be Blood is considered Day-Lewis’ most awarded performance, and earned the top spot in the New York Times’ ranking of films from the 21st century. The film chronicles the rise of California oil tycoon Daniel Plainview at the turn of the 20th century as he takes advantage of labor, land, religious fervor, and his own family in pursuit of wealth and power. The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective runs through April 11 at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. silver.afi.com. $10–$13. Masks and proof of vax or negative PCR test required.