Author Topic: Odysseys in Cinema  (Read 2386 times)

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ono

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Odysseys in Cinema
« on: November 27, 2005, 06:47:24 AM »
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So I'm looking for a really abstract concept here, and I'm not really sure where to start.  I've been working on a screenplay for a while now which I consider a type of clothesline where I hang certain stories and certain ideas, all leading to a collective big idea or two or three.  I'm trying to think of other movies where this has been done, but am coming up short.  There's different ways of looking at this.  Mine, ideally, is one where things start out so innocent but get deeper and deeper until they're totally out of control and some great catharsis occurs.  The greatest example of this, I think, is Eyes Wide Shut, because the odyssey in question is both mental and physical.  Only problem with it is it's concentrated on one character.  Magnolia is a great one because the trip is shared by multiple characters, yet none of them really interact.  So I'm looking for some great examples where all the players really feed off each other, are confined to close quarters for a determined period of time, and a certain change takes place because of it.  Tape comes to mind as one of the more brilliant ones in recent memory.  Three players play there, though in examples I'm looking for, I'd like to see more.  That leads me to The Anniversary Party which has only one real flaw of perhaps spreading itself too thin.

Shared experience is what I'm going for, yet I'm trying to think of good cinematic examples where the filmmaking really serves a purpose.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind might be one, but it has two players and the experiences are shuffled.  This isn't a black ball really, but sometimes the obfuscation isn't totally necessary.  My Dinner With Andre would be a brilliant example except for two things: there are only two principle players, and there's no reason to ever watch what's going on.  You could listen to the movie and never miss a thing.

If this is still too out there, too abstract, I'll elaborate some more, but for now, this should get the ball rolling.  Maybe the title of the thread, "Odysseys in Cinema," needs a bit of work.

Pubrick

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2005, 07:49:06 AM »
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If this is still too out there, too abstract, I'll elaborate some more
i thought i knew what you meant just from the title and first couple of sentences, but then u started listing ensemble films without any real specification about what separates say Magnolia from Nashville, where the characters interact more. i also don't understand why multiple characters are a necessity. or why this isn't in Brainstorming and Feedback..
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ono

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2005, 07:58:08 AM »
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Can I blame it on the Theraflu?  No?  Okay.

Just for the sake of argument, if you were to go on the first few sentences, what would you think I meant?

It's not in Brainstorming and Feedback because I'm not looking for feedback on my work.  I want suggestions for movies, like the time I was looking for racially charged films.

I didn't bring up Nashville because I don't really like the film.  What I'm looking for is a journey undertaken by an ensemble, preferably together, in which some sort of massive catharsis takes place.  In Eyes Wide Shut, this happens to one person, bobbing and weaving in and out of fucked up events.  In Magnolia, all characters undergo a journey, but separately for the most part, and are brought together at the end.  In Tape, they're all together, but there's three of them.  In The Anniversary Party, there's many players, but the problem is, they're spread too thin.  Like I said, Eternal Sunshine gets close, but the events are shuffled, to give it this Kubrickian, detached coldness to it, which is one of the only things that hurts it.  So I'm looking for films where there's a balance, and that's why multiple characters are a necessity.  I'm trying to see if anyone's tackled something where there's an equal pulling between all people involved, but I find the more characters added, the harder it is to pull this off (which is probably one reason why Pulp Fiction works so well -- it found that balance).  Am I making more sense now?

Oh, and I should say the main idea here is time, which is why Tape and The Anniversary Party appeal to me in this case.  Magnolia too.  Anywhere from a few hours to a night, all concentrated, and then the shit hits the fan.  Pulp Fiction takes a few days, and a few more characters are thrown into the mix, which is all the more admirable.

Gamblour.

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2005, 10:07:47 AM »
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Alright, your concept sounded like one we've all heard, the big ensemble piece. But you're more interested in the episodic structure? And they have to have character interaction?

Ignoring the above questions, this will sound like nothing you want probably, but Lost is basically exactly what you're talking about, I think. All of the interactions happen in the past. Well, then they kinda do come together for certain in the present. I really don't see how Eternal Sunshine is an example of what you're talking about. There's no division between the sets of stories, unless you're referring to the reverse way we see their relationship, the pseudo flashbacks. But then we already know how it all ends up, because we started in the beginning.

"Go" is kinda the teen Pulp Fiction, is that a good example? This type of cinema is clearly so specific that it's not generic, but a structural thing mostly, right? Ah, I got nothing.
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pete

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2005, 06:49:25 PM »
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I like to refer to two of my favorite romances of all time then, one is a bit harder to find than the other, but if you liked one you should get the other.

Before Sunrise and Crying Out Love in the Center of the World.

One is harder to find than the other.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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picolas

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2005, 07:48:09 PM »
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Quote
I'm looking for some great examples where all the players really feed off each other, are confined to close quarters for a determined period of time, and a certain change takes place because of it.
 

the structure of a story is there're characters or a character, something happens, and they change.

this thread reminds me of this thread: http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=5905.0 with the addition of there have to be a lot of characters.

i hear Barbarian Invasions is that also. ooh also The Big Chill but i forget what happened at the end. and Rules of Attraction has a lot of characters, something happening, and them changing, and they're all confined to university/feed off each other.. Short Cuts, The Shining..

Astrostic

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2005, 08:12:58 PM »
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I'm not absolutely positive of what you're going for, but, from what i CAN understand, I believe that a film you would find to fit your mold might be Thomas Vinterberg's "Festen," also known as "The Celebration" in english.  It shows an entire family contained in a house, for the most part around a dinner table, traveling on a collective journey to truth and its consequences, which concludes with quite a bit catharsis.

killafilm

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2005, 02:02:39 PM »
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The Ice Storm and the made for TV classic 'IT'

Reinhold

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2005, 07:00:34 PM »
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the sphere, pulp fiction, gosford park
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

JG

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2005, 02:50:35 PM »
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This from Ebert's review of Syrianna, a movie which might fit this category (based on the review):

Quote
A recent blog item coined a term like "hyperlink movie" to describe plots like this. (I would quote the exact term, but irony of ironies, I've lost the link.) The term describes movies in which the characters inhabit separate stories, but we gradually discover how those in one story are connected to those in another. "Syriana" was written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for "Traffic," another hyperlink movie. A lot of Altman films like "Nashville" and "Short Cuts" use the technique. Also, recently, "Crash" and "Nine Lives."

I don't know if this helps

pete

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Re: Odysseys in Cinema
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2005, 04:43:29 PM »
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all upright citizens brigade episodes.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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