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First clip from Anderson’s ‘The Master’ (TIFF 2012)

Will Perkins
Wide Screen
August 16, 2012

It's rare that a trailer or a clip for a movie actually poses more questions than it answers, but that's exactly what the marketing material (if it can even be called that) for Paul Thomas Anderson's new film "The Master" has been doing. The film, based loosely on the founding of the controversial Scientology movement, has been gaining a lot of buzz for not only its touchy subject matter, but also for the enigmatic way in which it has been promoted.

The lengthy — and naturally quite mysterious — new clip from Anderson's latest was posted online yesterday to promote a special charity screening of the film happening in Chicago on Aug. 16. The nearly two-minute montage is the most substantive look viewers have had at the movie to date, showing Joaquin Phoenix's character being "processed" —  a method of counseling that, as described by Philip Seymour Hoffman's and Amy Adams' characters, sounds eerily similar to Scientology's practice of "auditing."

The clip offers a little more insight into Phoenix's damaged, alcoholic veteran character Freddie Quell, and all but confirms that the "There Will Be Blood" director's new movie is a not-so-subtle take on the early days Scientology.

See the new "Master" clip for yourself below.

The "Boogie Nights" filmmaker is set to bring "The Master" to the Toronto International Film Festival in September for the gala premiere presented on 70mm film, a beautiful big screen format that is rarely used for modern movies. Notable 70mm films have included "Lawrence of Arabia," "2001: A Space Odyssey," and "Baraka" — not exactly mainstream Hollywood fare by today's standards.

Anderson remains a purist when it comes to the physical film format, steadfastly resisting the digital changeover that Hollywood has been trying to impose over the past decade or so. Not only is the reclusive director sending a message to the powers that be by using the 70mm format, but he's also ensuring that his film is exactly that.

"The Master" will be released worldwide on September 21.

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