There’s Way More Going On In Paul Thomas Anderson’s Radiohead Video Than You Realized

Filmmaker Rishi Kaneria takes an extremely close look Radiohead’s “Daydreaming” video and finds more layers than any one video should have.

There’s Way More Going On In Paul Thomas Anderson’s Radiohead Video Than You Realized

WHAT: An exploration into the hidden meanings of Paul Thomas Anderson’s lauded, languid video for “Daydreaming” by Radiohead.

WHO: Filmmaker and video essayist Rishi Kaneria.

WHY WE CARE: “Radiohead: The Secrets Of Daydreaming” begins with a 2001 interview of Radiohead’s enigmatic ringleader, Thom Yorke, in which he describes an Alice In Wonderland-like creative process of feeling trapped in a long corridor for six months, opening doors at random. What follows is a 15-minute exegesis on all the subliminal details hidden in the eventual music video that plays out like Yorke describes. “Daydreaming,” which came out a few months ago, is a high-pedigree, somber mindfuck. It follows Yorke’s purgatorial journey through endless hallways and doors, with dizzying shifts in depth of field and little explanation. While it all may seem random, though, Kaneria posits that there is a method to this madness. Inspired by the Radiohead subreddit and his own theories, the filmmaker plumbs the video’s depths for clues to how the imagery in each scene relates to Yorke’s life.

For one thing, the album the song comes from, A Moon Shaped Pool, is in part a reaction to Yorke’s recent separation from his partner of 23 years, the mother of his two children, Rachel Owens. In the video, he walks through exactly 23 doors. And once you start viewing each room in the video as a year in Yorke’s life, it makes you want to look a little closer at the contents of each room. Luckily, you don’t have to, because Kaneria has already done that—uncovering such theories as the hospital scene being a reference to the 1987 car accident that inspired the song “Airbag.” (Which would also account for why there’s a wheel on the wall.) Kaneria also examines the video’s twin obsessions with motherhood and the number six, which both come up a lot, and which are linked because, in numerology terms, six is considered the motherhood number. This theory takes on heightened significance when considering that the video was released on May 6th, 2016: Mothers Day Weekend. (Are you shuddering yet?) This deep-dive into the dream-like video is enough to make you want to examine your own dreams for hidden significance. (Why was young Bill Murray eating those granola bars in the space shuttle?)

Check out the music video below.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.



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