Thursday, 17 March 2016

Thursday Movie Picks Meme: Intersecting Stories

This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is intersecting stories. These films can be very interesting when done right. This would be the types of films where there are multiple stories that all appear unrelated but end up coming together in unexpected ways. There are plenty of great options to choose from, but I've decided to find some less obvious choices. Instead of going for the generally intended meaning of "intersecting story" I've decided to find some strange interpretations of that format. Unfortunately, doing so has made it hard to find three options. I've had to solve this by choosing one that I hate in addition to two great ones.

Lost Highway (1997)

This strange psychological film from David Lynch definitely has a way of messing with your idea of intersecting stories, largely because there are many different ways to interpret what happens and how exactly its narratives are linked. To put it simply, there are two main plotlines. The first half revolves around an estranged couple who receive tapes in the mail which contain footage of the inside of their home. About half-way through, this plot thread is largely left behind (though there actually are connections to it if one looks closely) and the movie instead begins following a mechanic who gets mixed up in an affair with a mobster's girlfriend. Then there is a surreal final act which brings together elements from both plotlines. A weird subjective experience, for sure.

The Weight of Water (2000)

One of the lesser known films to be directed by Kathryn Bigelow (yes, the same Kathryn Bigelow who made The Hurt Locker). This adaptation of Anita Shreve's 1997 novel features two narratives in different time periods connected by one incident. In one, we follow a journalist who is researching an incident in Maine during which two women were killed. In the other, we follow a young Immigrant woman as we learn the backstory leading up to the murders. It is a beautifully made film, though it can be disorienting and hard to follow. It is a bit more of an art film compared to some of Bigelow's more linear projects, but it is an interesting film to see. And because I know you're wondering, yes there is a lesbian sex scene, but in order to see it you'll have to sit through a beautiful two-hours first.

Still Life (2006)

This slow and tedious docudrama about a dying Chinese town is a very good example of how not to do intersecting storylines. In this case, it is because there is virtually nothing linking them. The first act follows a guy trying to find his wife. About a third of the way into the film, he sees a UFO (seriously) which serves as a transition into a second story about a woman, Shen Hong, who searches for her husband. We follow her through the same town with otherwise no real link to the first story. Then once we've finally gotten acquainted with her, the movie decides to forget about her and go back to the first guy. Shen Hong's plot is definitely the stronger of the two storylines, but the movie in general is poorly made, in large part because it fails to make any attempt to actually link these two obviously unrelated narratives.


  1. I haven't seen any of these, but I'll be sure to avoid Still Life. (Great title though)

  2. OMG LOST HIGHWAY! What a creepy trippy movie. Haven't seen either of the other two.

  3. I've not seen any of these. Gotta see Lost Highway and The Weight of Water, though. Great job.

  4. I haven't seen any of these, but I'll avoid Still Life. Maybe I'll check out the other two.

  5. Very cool take on this theme. I haven't seen any of these but the Lynch film sounds quite good.

  6. I haven't seen any of these either. One day, I'll crack into some Lynch. Mullholland Drive has its moments, but I just couldn't hang with it at the time. I liked Blue Velvet, but it's been a long time.

  7. Lost Highway is one of my favorites. There is a method to the madness of this film. Lots of clues and hints as to what may be going on. But what I love about it is that two people can watch the film and come up with two very valid resolutions to that puzzle of a movie. And the imagery that Lynch conjures up is some of his darkest and most disturbing. Great stuff.