Hyperlink cinema

Last updated

Hyperlink cinema is a style of filmmaking characterised by complex or multilinear narrative structures with multiple characters under one unifying theme.



The term was coined by author Alissa Quart, who used the term in her review of the film Happy Endings (2005) for the film journal Film Comment in 2005. [1] Film critic Roger Ebert popularized the term when reviewing the film Syriana in 2005. [2] These films are not hypermedia and do not have actual hyperlinks, but are multilinear in a more metaphorical sense.

In describing Happy Endings, Quart considers captions acting as footnotes and split screen as elements of hyperlink cinema and notes the influence of the World Wide Web and multitasking. [1] Playing with time and characters' personal history, plot twists, interwoven storylines between multiple characters, jumping between the beginning and end (flashback and flashforward) are also elements. [1] Ebert further described hyperlink cinema as films where the characters or action reside in separate stories, but a connection or influence between those disparate stories is slowly revealed to the audience; illustrated in Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's films Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), and Babel (2006). [2] [3]

Quart suggests that director Robert Altman created the structure for the genre and demonstrated its usefulness for combining interlocking stories in his films Nashville (1975) and Short Cuts (1993). [4] However, his work was predated by several films, including Satyajit Ray's Kanchenjunga (1962), [5] Federico Fellini's Amarcord (1973), [6] and Ritwik Ghatak's Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (1973), [7] all of which use a narrative structure based on multiple characters.

Quart also mentions the television series 24 and discusses Alan Rudolph's film Welcome to L.A. (1976) as an early prototype. [1] Crash (2004) is an example of the genre, [8] as are Steven Soderbergh's Traffic (2000), Fernando Meirelles's City of God (2002), Stephen Gaghan's Syriana (2005) and Rodrigo Garcia's Nine Lives (2005).

The style is also used in video games. French video game company Quantic Dream has produced games, such as Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human, with hyperlink cinema style storytelling, and the style has also influenced role-playing games such as Suikoden III (2001) and Octopath Traveler (2018).


The hyperlink cinema narrative and story structure can be compared to social science's spatial analysis. As described by Edward Soja and Costis Hadjimichalis spatial analysis examines the "'horizontal experience' of human life, the spatial dimension of individual behavior and social relations, as opposed to the 'vertical experience' of history, tradition, and biography." [9] English critic John Berger notes for the novel that "it is scarcely any longer possible to tell a straight story sequentially unfolding in time" for "we are too aware of what is continually traversing the story line laterally." [9]

An academic analysis of hyperlink cinema appeared in the journal ‘’Critical Studies in Media Communication,’’ and referred to the films as Global Network Films. Narine's study examines the films Traffic (2000), Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Beyond Borders (2003), Crash (2004; released 2005), Syriana (2005), Babel (2006) and others, citing network theorist Manuel Castells and philosophers Michel Foucault and Slavoj Žižek. The study suggests that the films are network narratives that map the network society and the new connections citizens experience in the age of globalization. [10]

Alberto Toscano and Jeff Kinkle have argued that one popular form of hyperlink cinema constitutes a contemporary form of it-narrative, an 18th- and 19th-century genre of fiction written from the imagined perspective of objects as they move between owners and social environments. [11] In these films, they argue, "the narrative link is the characters' relation to the film's product of choice, whether it be guns, cocaine, oil, or Nile perch." [11]



Video games

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steven Soderbergh</span> American film producer, screenwriter and cinematographer

Steven Andrew Soderbergh is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer and editor. A pioneer of modern independent cinema, Soderbergh is an acclaimed and prolific filmmaker.

<i>The Apu Trilogy</i> Bengali language film series by Satyajit Ray based on the works of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay

The Apu Trilogy comprises three Indian Bengali-language drama films directed by Satyajit Ray: Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and The World of Apu (1959). The original music for the films was composed by Ravi Shankar.

The New Hollywood, also known as American New Wave or Hollywood Renaissance, was a movement in American film history from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, when a new generation of young filmmakers came to prominence. They influenced the types of film produced, their production and marketing, and the way major studios approached filmmaking. In New Hollywood films, the film director, rather than the studio, took on a key authorial role. The definition of "New Hollywood" varies, depending on the author, with some defining it as a movement and others as a period. The span of the period is also a subject of debate, as well as its integrity, as some authors, such as Thomas Schatz, argue that the New Hollywood consists of several different movements. The films made in this movement are stylistically characterized in that their narrative often deviated from classical norms. After the demise of the studio system and the rise of television, the commercial success of films was diminished.

<i>Aparajito</i> 1956 film by Satyajit Ray

Aparajito is a 1956 Indian Bengali-language drama film written and directed by Satyajit Ray (1921–1992), and is the second part of The Apu Trilogy. It is adapted from the first half of Bibhutibhushan Bannerjee's novel Aparajito. It starts off where the previous film Pather Panchali (1955) ended, with Apu's family moving to Varanasi, and chronicles Apu's life from childhood to adolescence in college.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ritwik Ghatak</span> Indian Bengali filmmaker and script writer

Ritwik Kumar Ghatak was a noted Indian film director, screenwriter, and playwright. Along with prominent contemporary Bengali filmmakers Satyajit Ray, Tapan Sinha and Mrinal Sen, his cinema is primarily remembered for its meticulous depiction of social reality, partition and feminism. He won the National Film Award's Rajat Kamal Award for Best Story in 1974 for his Jukti Takko Aar Gappo and Best Director's Award from Bangladesh Cine Journalist's Association for Titash Ekti Nadir Naam. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri for Arts in 1970.

<i>Syriana</i> 2005 film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan

Syriana is a 2005 American political thriller film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, loosely based on Robert Baer's 2003 memoir See No Evil. The film stars an ensemble cast consisting of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cooper, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Amanda Peet, Christopher Plummer, Alexander Siddig, and Mazhar Munir.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Madhabi Mukherjee</span> Indian actress

Madhabi Chakraborty is an Indian actress. She won the National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in the Bengali film Dibratrir Kabya. She has acted in some of the most critically acclaimed films in Bengali cinema and is considered one of the great actresses of Bengali cinema.

<i>Babel</i> (film) 2006 psychological drama film

Babel is a 2006 psychological drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga. The multi-narrative drama completes Arriaga's and Iñárritu's Death Trilogy, following Amores perros and 21 Grams. It is an international co-production among companies based in the United States, Mexico and France. The film features an ensemble cast and use of hyperlink cinema, which portrays interwoven stories taking place in Morocco, Japan, Mexico, and the United States.

Several fiction, non-fiction and cinemas were based on Kolkata or depicted Kolkata from certain point of views. Some of such works are listed here.

Parallel cinema, or New Indian Cinema, is a film movement in Indian cinema that originated in the state of West Bengal in the 1950s as an alternative to the mainstream commercial Indian cinema.

<i>Titash Ekti Nadir Naam</i> 1973 Bangladeshi film

Titas Ekti Nadir Naam, or A River Called Titas, is a 1973 film that was a joint production between India and Bangladesh directed by Ritwik Ghatak. The movie was based on a novel by the same name, written by Adwaita Mallabarman. The movie explores the life of the fishermen on the bank of the Titas River in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh.

<i>Jukti Takko Aar Gappo</i> 1974 film by Ritwik Ghatak

Jukti Takko Aar Gappo is a 1974 Bengali film directed by auteur of Indian cinema Ritwik Ghatak. Jukti Takko Aar Gappo was Ritwik Ghatak's last film. The film was believed to have a cinematography way ahead of its time. The film won National Film Award's Rajat Kamal Award for Best Story in 1974.

<i>Nagarik</i> 1953 film by Ritwik Ghatak

Nagarik, also spelled as Nagorik, The Citizen in English, was the first feature-length film directed by legendary Indian director Ritwik Ghatak. Completed in 1952, it preceded Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali as perhaps the first example of an art film in Bengali cinema, but is deprived of that honor, since it was released twenty-four years later, after Ghatak's death. On 20 September 1977, it finally premiered at the New Empire theatre in Kolkata, India. Ritwik Ghatak directed only eight feature films, but is generally regarded as one of the auteurs of Indian cinema and virtually unsurpassed as a creator of powerful imagery and epic style by directors such as Satyajit Ray and of transcendental power and extraordinariness by critics such as Derek Malcolm.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Satyajit Ray</span> Indian filmmaker (1921–1992)

Satyajit Ray was an Indian director, screenwriter, documentary filmmaker, author, essayist, lyricist, magazine editor, illustrator, calligrapher, and music composer. One of the greatest auteurs of film-making, Ray is celebrated for works including The Apu Trilogy (1955–1959), The Music Room (1958), The Big City (1963) and Charulata (1964).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cinema of West Bengal</span> Indian Bengali language film industry based in West Bengal

Cinema of West Bengal, also known as Tollywood, is an Indian film industry of Bengali-language motion pictures. It is based in the Tollygunge region of Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The origins of the nickname Tollywood, a portmanteau of the words Tollygunge and Hollywood, dates back to 1932. It was a historically important film industry, at one time the centre of Indian film production. The Bengali film industry is known for producing many of Indian cinema's most critically acclaimed global Parallel Cinema and art films, with several of its filmmakers gaining prominence at the Indian National Film Awards as well as international acclaim.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gita Dey</span> Indian actress (1931-2011)

Gita Dey was an Indian actress in Bengali cinema, theatre and Bengali folk theater. She became a stage artist at the age of 6 years. She came to the film industry in 1943. Her first film release was Ahuti (1941) as a child actress. She acted in over two hundred Bengali language films and over two thousand stage shows. She acted in the movie Teen Kanya under the direction of Satyajit Ray and Rittik Ghatak's Meghe Dhaka Tara, Subarnarekha, Komal Gandhar, Kato Ajanare. She also acted in Hindi movies such as Parineeta (2005) with Vidya Balan and Sanjay Dutt and other movies. She was associated with All India Radio for a long time doing Shruti Natok. She received the Presidential Award for Lifetime Achievement from Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and many other awards during her lifetime.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nilkantha Bagchi</span> Fictional character

Nilkantha Bagchi is an iconic Bengali cinema character that first appeared in 1977 in Ritwik Ghatak's Jukti Takko Aar Gappo. In the 2013 film Meghe Dhaka Tara, the character portrayed by Saswata Chatterjee was named Nilkantha Bagchi. Chatterjee's character was based on the personality of Ritwik Ghatak.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alissa Quart</span> American nonfiction writer, critic, journalist, editor, and poet

Alissa Quart is an American nonfiction writer, critic, journalist, editor, and poet. Her nonfiction books are Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers and Rebels (2013), Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child (2007), Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers (2003), and Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America (2018), the poetry book Monetized (2015) and the poetry book Thoughts and Prayers (2019).


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Quart, Alissa (July–August 2005). "Networked". Film Comment . 41 (4): 48–5. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Ebert, Roger (December 9, 2005). "Syriana". Reviews. rogerebert.com. Retrieved July 25, 2007.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Ebert, Roger (September 22, 2007). "Babel". Reviews. rogerebert.com. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  4. Ebert, Roger (2006). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2007. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 100. ISBN   0-7407-6157-9
  5. 1 2 "Kanchenjungha". AMC . Archived from the original on December 11, 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "20 Great Examples of Hyperlink Cinema Every Film Buff Must Watch". Taste of Cinema. September 4, 2015.
  7. 1 2 Ghatak, Ritwik (2000). Rows and Rows of Fences: Ritwik Ghatak on Cinema. Ritwik Memorial & Trust Seagull Books. pp. ix & 134–36. ISBN   81-7046-178-2.
  8. Willmore, Alison (February 23, 2009). ""Crossing Over" and Hyperlink Cinema". IFC . Archived from the original on April 10, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  9. 1 2 Soja, Edward W.; Hadjimichalis, Costis (1979). "Between Geographical Materialism and Spatial Fetishism: Some Observations on the Development of Marxist Spatial Analysis". Antipode . 17 (2–3): 59–67. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.1985.tb00334.x.
  10. Narine, Neil (2010). "Global Trauma and the Cinematic Network Society". Critical Studies in Media Communication . 27 (3): 209–234. doi:10.1080/15295030903583556. S2CID   143671583.
  11. 1 2 Toscano, Alberto; Kinkle, Jeff (2015). Cartographies of the Absolute. Zero Books. p. 192.
  12. "Hyperlink Film". Flickchart .
  13. "The Best Hyperlink Films of the 1930s". Flickchart.
  14. Newman, Michael Z. (2011). Indie: An American Film Culture. Columbia University Press. ISBN   9780231513524 via Google Books.
  15. "The Best Hyperlink Films of the 1960s". Flickchart.
  16. 1 2 Özguc, Agah. Bütün Filmleriyle Yilmaz Güney (in Turkish).
  17. 1 2 3 4 "Top 10 Greatest Films of 'Hyperlink Cinema'". moviebabble.com. March 17, 2018.
  18. "The Best Hyperlink Films of the 1980s". Flickchart.
  19. "It's a Sad and Beautiful World: Music From the Films of Jim Jarmusch". A Perfect Prescription. March 15, 2016.
  20. 1 2 3 4 "The Best Hyperlink Films of the 1990s". Flickchart.
  21. Kipp, Jeremiah (August 12, 2008). "Before the Rain Film Review". Slant Magazine . Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  22. Ebert, Roger (March 11, 2009). "Exotica".
  23. 1 2 3 Booker, M. Keith (2007). Postmodern Hollywood: What's New in Film and why it Makes Us Feel So Strange. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 12–21. ISBN   978-0-275-99900-1 . Retrieved October 18, 2008 via Google Books.
  24. Holden, Stephen (January 22, 1999). "'Playing By Heart': In a Cocktail of Romance, Different Flavors of Love". The New York Times . Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "Hyperlink Cinema and the Prevalence of Intertwining Stories". The Artifice . January 17, 2017.
  26. "CODE INCONNU". Festival de Cannes.
  27. 1 2 3 Ebert, Roger (January 6, 2006). "Cape of Good Hope". Reviews. rogerebert.com. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  28. Ebert, Roger (January 18, 2002). "Lantana". Reviews. rogerebert.com. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
  29. Cochran, Dechlan (April 12, 2012). "11:14, an obscure gem of a movie (review)". D&CFilm.
  30. Barber, Nicholas (March 17, 2015). "Fragmentation games: the return of the portmanteau film". The Guardian.
  31. "The 15 Best Glenn Close Movie Performances". Taste of Cinema. March 8, 2019.
  32. Page, Matt (June 20, 2005). "Film Review: Sin City". Open Heaven Church. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  33. Jerslev, Anne (March 2012). "The post-perspectival: Screens and time in David Lynch's Inland Empire". Journal of Aesthetics and Culture.
  34. Ebert, Roger (April 27, 2006). "Look Both Ways". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  35. Skinner, Marjorie (September 4, 2008). "The Celestial Prophecy : Living on The Edge of Heaven". Portland Mercury . Archived from the original on December 15, 2008. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
  36. Gandert, Sean (October 18, 2007). "Rendition". Paste . Archived from the original on February 24, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  37. Holden, Stephen. "The Air I Breathe – Movie – Review". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  38. Chang, Justin (February 21, 2008). "Vantage Point". Variety . Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  39. Snider, Eric D. (February 16, 2010). "Portland Film Fest Review: Ajami". Cinematical. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  40. Anderson, Melissa (May 8, 2009). "Powder Blue Review". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  41. Hiscock, John (February 25, 2009). "Watchmen: the 'unfilmable' on screen" . The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  42. Perkis, Ed (May 17, 2016). "Watchmen Director's Cut Blu-ray Review". CinemaBlend. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  43. "REVIEW: Hereafter". Marshall and the Movies. November 4, 2010.
  44. Osenlund, R. Kurt (December 2, 2011). "Answers to Nothing". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  45. Wickman, Forrest (September 9, 2011). "Steven Soderbergh's Contagion". Slate .
  46. LaSalle, Mick (October 25, 2012). "'Cloud Atlas' review: Baring your soul". San Francisco Chronicle . Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  47. Hachard, Thomas (April 7, 2013). "Disconnect". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  48. Kermode, Mark (January 24, 2016). "The Big Short review – life with the Wall Street sharks". The Guardian.
  49. "'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Review: It's Messy, and Glorious". NY Times. March 24, 2022.
  50. "'Bullet Train' Spoiler Free Review - ScrenHub Review - ScreenHub Entertainment".
  51. "Suikoden III in-depth review". IGN Boards. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  52. "Indigo Prophecy Review". GameSpot . September 21, 2005. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  53. "Interview: David Cage of Quantic Dream and Heavy Rain". Engadget. May 27, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  54. "Resident Evil 6 HD Remaster Review – Not Worth The Replay Value". gamingbolt.com. April 4, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  55. "Tips on how to save, or lose, all eight characters in Until Dawn". VentureBeat . August 31, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  56. "'Octopath Traveler' tells eight stories, and they're all forgettable". Digital Trends . July 18, 2018.
  57. "Detroit: Become Human Story and Ending Explained - Here's What Happened". NDTV Gadgets 360 . May 28, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  58. Ray, Satyajit (2015). Prabandha Sangraha. Kolkata: Ananda Publishers. pp. 120–121. ISBN   978-93-5040-553-6.
  59. 1 2 "20 Worst Hipster Movies of All Time". LA Weekly . July 17, 2014.