The criss-cross challenge: films with interwoven plot threads

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Meg Hamel, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. Meg Hamel

    Meg Hamel Auditioning

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    Who's up for a challenge?

    I'm building a list of films that fit a particular criteria: interwoven characters and plot lines.

    Variety calls them "criss-crossers." They are different from ensemble films (like The Big Chill): criss-crossers have separate narratives that overlap in often incidental ways. Some examples, like Love Actually are pretty easy to identify. Others are little trickier to classify, as there may be a storyline that ends up taking priority because the acting is particularly strong , etc.

    Examples include:

    13 Conversations About One Thing
    Love Actually
    Happenstance
    11:14
    Mind The Gap
    Km.0
    Goldfish Memory
    Love Is Butterfly
    Horem Padem
    Corazones Rotos
    Bug
    Nine Lives
    The Lawless Heart
    Magnolia
    En la Ciudad

    I'd love to get your suggestions for other titles, everything from current releases to obscure foreign-language pictures.

    Availability on DVD (or VHS) is a HUGE plus, with English subtitles required. Overall critical quality is slightly less important. You're allowed to ask your friends for their suggestions, too.

    Ideas?
     
  2. Dillon*G

    Dillon*G Second Unit

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    Sin City, Traffic, and Crash are three that come to mind.
     
  3. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    I'm sure there's a number of them I've seen, but the one that comes to my mind at the moment is American Graffiti.
     
  4. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Welcome to HTF, Meg! Interesting topic, although I'm sure there are a gazillion of these movies out there. Pulp Fiction would qualify, wouldn't it? Certainly Robert Altman's Nashville would, maybe some of his other movies as well.

    A current non-US director who's used this kind of structure several times is Wong Kar-Wai. Three of his movies are of that style, to varying degrees: Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express, and Fallen Angels. His most recent film, 2046, is sort of in that category as well, although there's one main character pretty much throughout the whole thing.
     
  5. GeorgePaul

    GeorgePaul Second Unit

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    Almost every Robert Altman film, like Nashville, The Player and M*A*S*H.

    As would Pulp Fiction, wouldn't everyone agree?


    EDIT: Way to go, Haggai...thunder-stealer. [​IMG]
     
  6. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Lucas Belvaux Trilogy:
    On The Run
    An Amazing Couple
    After the Life
    (so interwoven that the films can be watched in any order. There is an R2 UK box set with English subs)

    All available in R1
    The Phantom of Liberty
    The Dekalog
    Chungking Express
    Crimes & Misdemeanors
    Wonderland (dir. Michael Winterbottom)
     
  7. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Hey, great minds think alike. [​IMG]

    I don't think The Player is quite in this category, from what I remember of it. The main character does interact with a bunch of different people, but the story mostly follows him. MASH is an ensemble piece, but again you're pretty much with the main guys all the way through. Nashville is a clear-cut case of completely different story-lines, developed independently of each other, and then intersecting later on.
     
  8. Scott Simonian

    Scott Simonian Screenwriter

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    I was gonna say... Jackie Brown.
     
  9. Meg Hamel

    Meg Hamel Auditioning

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    Yep yep yep -- all good suggestions. You guys have the hang of it!

    Keep the ideas flowing, especially lesser-known films. Brook, Wonderland is a great suggestion. A terrific picture that I had forgotten about.
     
  10. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    Can't believe that no one has mentioned one of my favorite "criss-crossers": Go!
     
  11. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Don McKellar's Last Night.
     
  12. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Exotica by Atom Egoyan might or might not fulfill the criteria... the connections between the different stories are perhaps stronger than you have in mind - they're not "incidental". But check it out in case it fits.
     
  13. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    HUGE fan of that type of film. Lotsa suggestions here:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=128824

    I've has Short Cuts for a few months now, but just can't seem to finish it (I am more than an hour into it). It's just not working for me it seems [​IMG]. I've got to set some time aside for it, heard too many good things about it.

    --
    H
     
  14. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Before the Rain would qualify, but as yet there is no DVD. [​IMG]
     
  15. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

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    Time Code is a pretty good example of this as the screen is divided up into 4 sections with stories happening in all 4 and characters moving between screens. The sound mix is what typically sets your focus on one of the screens. I quite enjoyed it as an experiment, even though the individual stories aren't as intriguing.

    Amores Perros also fits the "genre", but the stories aren't really interwoven in the film. They all tie back to a common event though.
     
  16. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    EDIT:

    Never mind. Magnolia was already mentioned in the beginning.
     
  17. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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    .
     
  18. Jacob McCraw

    Jacob McCraw Stunt Coordinator

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    Tampopo - I love this movie, though the stories don't necessarily "intersect" per se.

    Would Rashomon count?

    Do the Right Thing
     
  19. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    21 Grams
    Storytelling


    Also, in a rather unusual way, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    I didn't think it fit at first, but it really does.
     
  20. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Maybe I'm pushing it now, but...

    Barton Fink
    Amelie
    A Very Long Engagement
    Citizen Kane
     

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