Der seidene Faden

A film by Paul Thomas Anderson. In eng­lish with ger­man subtitles.

Fashion desi­gner Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is the total packa­ge. He has the same per­fec­tion­ism when he works on his crea­ti­ons, goes to the bath­room, and has his break­fast. Watching Reynolds Woodcack have his break­fast means being wit­ness to a long­stan­ding, fine­ly cali­bra­ted rou­ti­ne that is ful­ly­o­ri­en­ted towards the needs of the sen­si­ti­ve geni­us. Every dis­cordant note, every tri­via­li­ty, could break off his crea­ti­ve flow.

PHANTOM THREAD is set in 1950s England, which is more of an aes­the­tic idea for Paul Thomas Anderson than any­thing else. The direc­tor of PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE and THE MASTER shows a hau­te cou­ture king­dom with opu­lent images which Reynolds is in char­ge of. Everything here is exqui­si­te: the colors, the tex­tures, the mate­ri­als, the tapestry, the dou­ble doors, the lap­sang souchong that is ser­ved at break­fast. The tail­ors who enter the feu­dal House of Woodcock through the ser­vent ent­rance every mor­ning are the loy­al lie­ges, and Reynold‘s sis­ter Cyril (Leslie Manville) is the high com­man­der. The master‘s lovers play a sub­or­di­na­te role and are repla­ced when they start bothe­ring him. This chan­ges when Reynolds meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), a young eas­tern European immi­grant. She beco­mes his model and his lover, and unli­ke her pre­de­ces­sors, she mana­ges to car­ve an indis­pensable place in the master‘s world.

Anderson tells a com­plex, fetis­hi­stic love sto­ry whe­re secret obses­si­ons are woven in like hid­den mes­sa­ges in the hem of a dress. Alma and Reynolds are in a love tri­ang­le from the start – Reynolds crea­ti­ons are the third per­son. Instead of a first sex sce­ne there‘s a fit­ting, a ritua­li­stic mea­su­ring whe­re both know what it means. Being dres­sed and having someone dress you beco­mes an ero­tic act. Alma says“I can stand for hours“ and “I‘m beau­tiful in his dres­ses,“ and Reynolds wat­ches her cat­walk with the eyes of a lover. This idyll does show rup­tures when it beco­mes clear that Alma is her own per­son and she dis­rupts the iron rules of the House of Woodcock. Instead of respec­ting the holy sere­ni­ty of the break­fast ritu­al, she joyful­ly makes noi­se and pours the tea from too high up, which makes a dis­rup­ti­ve sound. When Reynolds runs off insul­ted, she says some blas­phe­mous words to Cyril: “I think he‘s too sensitive!“

THE PHANTOM THREAD is a mul­ti­face­ted, ira­de­s­cent film. A hym­nal-hedo­ni­stic cele­bra­ti­on of color, form, and style. An iro­ni­cal­ly amusing por­trait of nar­cis­si­stic mas­cu­li­n­i­tiy. The con­s­truc­tion and decon­s­truc­tion of a geni­us. But most of all, THE PHANTOM THREAD is a gothic romance, an exu­berant love sto­ry with mor­bid aspects fil­led with psy­cho­lo­gi­cal chasms. These chasms are what make the dis­si­mi­lar cou­ple find a kind of balan­ce. The fan­ta­sy of psy­cho­lo­gi­cal­ly sound model part­ners that always com­mu­ni­ca­te respectful­ly with “I feel“ mes­sa­ges is coun­te­red here with a cou­ple in love who seem to fol­low their own, pos­si­bi­li­ty per­ver­se-see­ming rules and mana­ge to make it work, held tog­e­ther by a thread invi­si­ble to ever­yo­ne else, the PHANTOM THREAD.

Hendrike Bake, Translation: Elinor Lewy


Phantom Thread
USA 2017, 130 Min., engl. OmU
Regie, Buch & Kamera: Paul Thomas Anderson
Schnitt: Dylan Tichenor
mit: Daniel Day-Lewis, Camilla Rutherford, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps
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