15 May 2007

Four stylistically related films

There is a kind of storytelling that I have not seen until fairly recently: following around a bunch of seemingly unrelated characters whose lives intersect in surprising ways. I've seen this style in four films, all of which I think are excellent:

Short Cuts (1993). Robert Altman starts with helicopters spraying for Medflies and continues with the intertwining stories of a bunch of Los Anglinos.

Magnolia (1999). Paul Thomas Anderson directs a story about a former quiz kid, a current quiz kid, a rich man dying while his nurse searches for his (the patient's) estranged son, who has made his fortune teaching the art of seduction.

Lantana (2001). Ray Lawrence directs this story of a psychiatrist gone missing. One of the cops investigating her disappearance turns out to have been having an affair with a woman who sees her next-door neighbor disposing of a key piece of evidence.

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001). Jill Sprecher directs in New York. Characters include a physics professor having an affair, a defense attorney who gets into an auto accident while drunk, and a manager determined to wipe the smile off the face of one of his employees.

So…aside from recommending all four of these films to people who like this kind of storytelling, I wonder what others are out there in a similar vein.




CMM said...

Off the top of my head, a couple others - Traffic (drugs wreak havoc), Crash (race and gender clashes in LA), Grand Canyon (race and gender in LA again).

Don Riemer said...
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Don Riemer said...

I'd also suggest 21 Grams and Crash as great examples of this approach. And I've had the sense that the recent Babel works this way, though I have not seen it.