Entry for January 01, 2006

It’s perhaps not a coincidence that I was thinking about climate change on the unseasonable warm New Year’s Eve, as I left yesterday to see Syriana with Barry Anderson at the Grandin.  Roger Ebert’s review of Syriana refers to the term “hyperlink movie” which is used


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 best screenplay adaptation for “Traffic,” another hyperlink movie. A lot of Altman films like “Nashville” and “Short Cuts” use the technique. Also, recently, “Crash” and “Nine Lives.”


In a hyperlink movie the motives of one character may have to be reinterpreted after we meet another one.


For those of you who may have missed something (I, for one, have trouble with subtitles) Warner Brothers has posted the screenplay.  Jeffrey Skoll, founder of the producer, Participant Films, made about 2 billion in 2000, when he cashed in his 15% share as the first paid employee at e-Bay.


In January 2004, he assembled a team of entertainment industry executives who shared his interest in creating quality entertainment that would engage, educate and inspire. The producer, Participant Films  Explained  Skoll in the December 2005 Esquire,

I’m interested in leveraging the power of Hollywood to tell great stories and make a difference in the world.

In its first year, Participant released the documentary, Arna’s Children about Palestine in October to good reviews.  It completed the upcoming American Gun,  which got lukewarm reviews, despite good performances by its cast including Forest Whitaker.

 Syriana is another case, getting rave reviews. Films by the company include Good Night and Good Luck,  Murderball (a documentary on handicapped athletes)  and  North Country.  This last starring Charlize Theron, is about women who speak out about the harassment they’ve received as mines.

To the  end of producing social change, as well as films, the company has a website,   Participate.net, which  has mounted a campaign to reduce dependence on petroleum entitiled  Oil Change.  The site encourages a virtual march against global warming and touts the US Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement. Participant has launched similar action pages for Good Night and Good Luck (Report It Now) and North Country (Stand Up ). 




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