7. Three Colors Trilogy: Red (Kryztof Kieslowski, 1994)
Kieslowski was a storyteller of fabulous proportions, and his last film is best evidence. This film was his final instalment in the Three Colors Trilogy in French Language. It was a trilogy that told essentially personal stories inquiring sensitively into the colors of the French flag and the connotations of liberty, equality and fraternity. It was a film that quite obviously belongs in this list.
If Hyperlink cinema is about networks, fraternity would be a word that films of this category must examine profoundly. However none had done it with greater poetry, and intelligence than Kieslowski. “Fraternity” was the ideal in the motto of the French republic that forms the premise for the story.
Kieslowski had an appetite for ideologies and their dissection with good vision. He had achieved it with great skill in the The Decalog. Red was a work of ripe talent and simplicity, despite its compound form. It is the story of unlikely bonds germinating among characters.
The visually stunning film is draped in a dreamy red. Great narrative density is obtained not only from the demography of the plot, but also the thematic undercurrents sustained in smart symbolism. A student and part-time model, a retired judge, and a young couple form the network in this story, and the audience is drawn into this with Kieslowski’s emblematic surreal temper.
8. Code Unknown (Michael Haneke, 2000)
Michael Haneke has displayed ease with concepts of diverse scales over his career of rather provocative choices. Code Unknown has an extended title which best justifies its presence on this list- “Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys”. One of the most poetically enigmatic filmmakers of our times chose to invent a form that embraces the content with an inimitable aptness.
We witness a largely real time, minimally edited dramatic episode in Paris, which is witnessed by a large network of characters within the story. We are exposed to the narrative, migrating from the perspective of one character to another, in a very compactly stylized continuity.
The inconclusiveness of the experiences is conveyed in the title itself. But the deeply moving philosophical undercurrent is justly upheld by expert direction, and great cinematography, giving the film a temper unlike any other on this list.
9. Timecode (Mike Figgis, 2000)
Without doubt the most experimental piece here, and perhaps one of the boldest ones in the history of the craft. Mike Figgis went crazy with this. If hyperlink is a perfect allusion to all other films on this list, this one reminds one of the magic of multitasking, of keeping a plethora of tabs in your browser to keep shuffling content and alternately accessing sites.
The film was entirely split screen, each slot shot in continuous 90 minutes takes by different cameramen simultaneously. Just when one thought that the aesthetics of parallel narratives was developing into a predictable discipline, Figgis chose to tell the story of dysfunctional relationships with the backdrop of the capricious movie business, in this whole new visual stimulation that has great realistic promise in it.
10. Gummo (Harmony Korine, 1997)
The academics disliked this cult film upon its release. It was denounced bitterly in many realms. Harmony Korine had a vision for the medium, in which he was seeking to employ eccentricity not to generate impacts, but to create poetry. Gummo is a living, breathing film about the poor and absurdly civilized inhabitants of the tornado-devastated small town of Xenia, Ohio.
Korine’s philosophy in making the film, composed of vignettes spectating characters in their disturbing occupations and impenetrable yet relatable social insights, was simply that moments and people are more memorable than the film in its entirety with a one-dimensional story.
It was entirely experimental, for its disturbances, structural innovation (which was very much hyperlink cinema) and bold study of a poverty and shattered civilization of emotionally, morally, behaviourally and financially bankrupt people.
Gummo was described by Gus Van Sant as “Venomous in story; genius in character; victorious in structure; teasingly gentle in epilogue; slapstick in theme; rebellious in nature; honest at heart; inspirational in its creation and with contempt at the tip of its tongue”. Werner Herzog too had been deeply moved by the film.
11. You, The Living (Roy Andersson, 2007)
Roy Andersson can work magic with vignettes. The film infiltrated into perplexing yet very domestic human conditions in a surreal, distant, and visually stunning observation that was comically engaging, and not for a moment manipulative. It is the second film of a trilogy which also includes “Songs from the Second Floor” and ‘’The Pigeon That Sat on the Branch Reflecting on Existence”, both of which are structurally similar and may have belonged to this list.
The largely inert camera captures some urban lives with little purpose or philosophy. Most of the sketches are unrelated, and are connected by recurring appearances of a teenage girl infatuated with a rockstar, a tragicomic obese couple, and trumpets and saxophones. The film is deeply philosophical, and one of the most technically non-conforming works in recent past. The entire trilogy is recommended, because after all, each moment is a film in itself.
12. Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993)
Linklater has a natural knack for multiple narratives. His films dwell too much on the characters to afford this form, however he does it with an ease of a master. His specialization in this form famously began with Dazed and Confused. Music, as a subject seems to have an interesting relationship with hyperlink cinema.
Dazed And Confused is a film about some teenagers in Austin, Texas, and their last day of school life. This coming-of-age film is absolutely hilarious, and Linklater’s very wise eyes, made it a delight for generations. Rock music is inseparably a part of the film, defining both the pace and the affectionate treatment of the story. The story was a tangle of networks of different groups of teens up to different kinds of insanity. Linklater worked on the same structure with SubUrbia.
13. Before the Rain (Milcho Manchevski, 1994)
This Golden Lion winning Macedonian classic by writer-director Milcho Manchevski is a film in three overlapping stories that are devastating in their romance, and intimate in their telling. The three stories are named Words, Faces, and Pictures. The first focuses on a relationship between a monk who has taken a spiritual vow of silence and an accused murderer.
The second story is about the perplexing consequences of a shootout witnessed by a picture editor, who is torn between two lovers. In Pictures these two stories unite, tragically, completing the film in an intimate ode to crumbling relationships. Several communicative symbols adorn these tales, which makes the film a work of immense maturity.