Ned Botwood - 4th Nov 2019

Haim and Paul Thomas Anderson’s longstanding partnership is the gift that keeps on giving. Their latest collaboration is a dizzy Los Angeles caper, starring Danielle Haim in the chaotic sway of a nervous breakdown.

Haim’s middle child shines in this short psychodrama, set amongst the bustling bars and outlets of LA’s fashionable Silver Lake. Doing an eerily convincing Isabelle Adjani impression, Danielle scurries along Sunset Boulevard with an uncertain destination, trying on different personas and discarding them like cheap pair of shades. With shades of cult classics Celine and Julie Go Boating and Mulholland Drive, the video is a four minute panic attack, capturing the frenzied breathlessness of an identity in free fall.

If you’re not familiar with Paul Thomas Anderson’s sensitive work with Fiona Apple and Joana Newsom, the director’s relationship with Haim seems unlikely - at least on paper. Anderson’s filmography is an ongoing study in megalomania. The director has made it his life’s mission to tell the stories of flawed, controlling men. Meanwhile, Haim have built their career on playfully subverting their ‘cool’ influences, daring to inject a sisterly enthusiasm into a space skeptically guarded by ‘rockists’. This is a band equally comfortable with comparisons to Peter Green and Shania Twain.

The sisters have never shied away from ‘girl group’ imagery either. Comedy and choreography, for instance, are essential parts of their presentation. Catch the band strutting down Ventura Boulevard in Want You Back, shimmying in front of a halogen ‘HAIM’ sign in If I Could Change Your Mind, or even line-dancing in Little Of Your Love. An honourable mention should also go to their Instagram, a treasure trove of dance routines in unexpected places. Their Quincy Jones routine, in particular, qualifies for its own Promonews entry. 

Recently, the band have been experimenting with a new directness. And this video marks something of a departure. More often than not, Haim’s music videos have been at odds to present the sisters as a tight, unbreakable unit. But in light of some difficult circumstances in Danielle’s life, the singer has stepped into the foreground of their music and visuals. This Danielle-aissance began in July, with Anderson’s sublime video for Summer Girl. In this languid LA fantasia, the singer wandered through the city removing her Winter clothing, leisurely pursued by a stranger with a saxophone. The video also starred Este and Alana Haim in a Greek chorus role, but the video was unique in that it prioritised Daniele’s personal experience — the singer’s response to her partner’s cancer diagnosis back in 2017. 

Now I’m In It picks up where Summer Girl left off. By foregrounding the experiences of just one bandmember, at least temporarily, Haim have created some of their most stirring and resonant work in years. Without sacrificing the unity that make the band such an attractive prospect in the first place. In particular, the car wash sequence, as well as Este’s appearance in the middle section, is a startling watch and arguably a career highlight for both the artist and director.

Incidentally, this video is also peak Paul Thomas Anderson. It brims with the director’s trademark fascinations: colliding lives, corridors, meandering tracking shots, a shuffling, dead-eyed protagonist, and a familial redemption. And crucially, it looks gorgeous, shot on 35mm in the glorious natural light of California.

Credits

DirectorPaul Thomas Anderson
Production CompanyGhoulardi Film Company
Producer (LA)Sara Murphy
Producer (LA)Erica Frauman
EditorAndy Jurgensen
1st ADTrevor Tavares
GafferMike Bauman
Key GripJeff Kunkel
SteadicamAri Robbins
Production designerFlorencia Martin
1st ACJosh Friz
2nd ACRyan Creasy
LoaderRob Reaves
Production ManagerKat Barnette
Production ManagerDeanna Barillari
ChoreographerGenna Maroni
Wardrobe AssistantElyse Lightner
WardrobeRebecca Grice
ColouristMike Sowa
PropsWilliam Potter
2nd ADJeff Overfield
Other creditsAdditional 2nd AC: Chris De La Riva Best Boy Electric: Tommy Dangcil Electrics: Kuba Bojsza, Phoebe Patten, Jonathan Rodriguez, Eric Tolzmann Best Boy Grip: Joe Chouchanian Grips: Jamie Franta, Scott Carden, Brian Drown, Dustin Supencheck, Todd Nicodemus Playback: Sam Vlahovich Special Effects: Ryan Senecal, Adam Bedi, Ryan Buckley DI Producer: Jason Pelham Wardrobe Assistant: Elyse Lightner Hair: Candice Birns Assistant Hair: Vincent David Make-up: Miriam Nichterlein Assistant Make-up: Kasha Lassien Stunts: Craig “Frosty” Silva, Jason A. Gonzales Medics: Jorge Alarcon, Samson Ghaffari Water Truck: Steve Martinez Title Design: Warren Fu Panavision Cameras: Lori Killam, Dan Sasaki Kodak Film: Anne Hubbell Fotokem: Mario Allen, Andrew Oran, Mark Van Horne Chapman: Daniel Issa Dancers: Raymond Ejiofor. Damontae Hack, Tiara Jackson, Charissa Kroeger, Sarah Prinz, Derek Schiesel, Brooke Shepherd Extras: Daniel Acloirt, David Atsbaha, Harriet Augusta, Robert Augusta, Sydney Augusta-Huyah, Carlos Barbouth, Demetri Belardinelli, Ashley Berry, David Cardenas,Robert Castillo, Kit Conners, Jaime Contreras, Aaron Cuasay, Natalie Delossa, Robyn Delossa, Juan Enriquez, Etiange Domoa, Daniel Echevarria, Hayden Fongheiser, Jacob Gibson, Brian Girgus, Elizabeth Godar, Jason Gonzales, Josh Grossman, Callie Haskins, Trevor Hill, Tina Huang, Michael Lincoln, Brenda Litzinger, Samuel Mata, Joshua McCafferty, Ada Mendoza, Nina Millin, Lucas Moore, Adam Morgan, Rafael Novoa, Sarah Olmsted, Heidi Ornelas, Lana Panah-Igadi, Fanny Pierre, Mark Daniel Quintos, Priyanka Ram, Eligio Reyes, Kane Richotte, Cathleen Rogan, Gabriel Saucedo, Amber Serrano, Graham Sibley, Oswald Sosa, Manny Tapia, Noel VanBrocklin, Jamie Wollrab, Demery Zlactic

Ned Botwood - 4th Nov 2019

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