spacetime coordinates: 1930s Chicago, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona
Public Enemies is a 2009 American biographical mob drama film directed by Michael Mann and written by Mann, Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman. It is an adaptation of Bryan Burrough‘s non-fiction book Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34. Set during the Great Depression, the film chronicles the final years of the notorious bank robber John Dillinger(Johnny Depp) as he is pursued by FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), Dillinger’s relationship with Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), as well as Purvis’ pursuit of Dillinger’s associates and fellow criminals Homer Van Meter (Stephen Dorff) and Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham).
Burrough originally intended to make a television miniseries about the Depression-era crime wave in the United States, but decided to write a book on the subject instead. Mann developed the project, and some scenes were filmed on location where certain events depicted in the film occurred, though the film is not entirely historically accurate.
spacetime coordinates: Pacific Islands, 1849 // Cambridge/Edinburgh, 1936 // San Francisco, 1973 // London, 2012 // Neo Seoul, 2144 // Big Isle (Hawaii), 106 winters after the Fall (2321)
Cloud Atlas is a 2012 German-American science fiction film written and directed by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. Adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell, the film has multiple plots set across six different eras, which Mitchell described as “a sort of pointillist mosaic.” The official synopsis describes it as “an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.” Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Broadbent lead an ensemble cast.
Lana Wachowski stated “people will try to will Cloud Atlas to be rejected. They will call it messy, or complicated, or undecided whether it’s trying to say something New Agey-profound or not. And we’re wrestling with the same things that Dickens and Hugo and David Mitchell and Herman Melville were wrestling with. We’re wrestling with those same ideas, and we’re just trying to do it in a more exciting context than conventionally you are allowed to. … We don’t want to say, ‘We are making this to mean this.’ What we find is that the most interesting art is open to a spectrum of interpretation.”
imdb // wikipedia
spacetime coordinates: Paris in the 1930s
Hugo is a 2011 historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. Based on Brian Selznick‘s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it is about a boy who lives alone in the Gare Montparnasse railway station in Paris in the 1930s.
The backstory and primary features of Georges Méliès‘ life as depicted in the film are largely accurate: He became interested in film after seeing a demonstration of the Lumière brothers‘ camera; he was a magician and toymaker; he experimented with automata; he owned a theatre (Theatre Robert-Houdin); he was forced into bankruptcy; his film stock was reportedly melted down for its celluloid; he became a toy salesman at the Montparnasse station, and he was eventually awarded the Légion d’honneur medal after a period of terrible neglect. Many of the early silent films shown in the movie are Méliès’s actual works, such as Le voyage dans la lune (1902). However, the film does not mention Méliès’ two children, his brother Gaston (who worked with Méliès during his film-making career), or his first wife Eugénie, who was married to Méliès during the time he made films (and who died in 1913). The film shows Méliès married to Jeanne d’Alcy during their filmmaking period, when in reality they did not marry until 1925. (read more here: Historical references)
spacetime coordinates: Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932
The Artist is a 2011 French romantic comedy-drama in the style of a black-and-white silent film. written, directed, and co-edited by Michel Hazanavicius, produced by Thomas Langmann, and stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.
Hazanavicius : The Artist was made as a love letter to cinema, and grew out of my (and all of my cast and crew’s) admiration and respect for movies throughout history. It was inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau and Wilder.
spacetime coordinates: 1939 – 1945 Warsaw, Poland
The Zookeeper’s Wife is a 2017 war drama film directed by Niki Caro and written by Angela Workman, based on Diane Ackerman’s non-fiction book The Zookeeper’s Wife, (which relied heavily on the diaries of Antonina Żabińska, published in Poland as Ludzie i zwierzęta translated as: People and Animals 1968)., recounting the rescue of Jews from the Nazi invasion. The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton and Daniel Brühl.
spacetime coordinates: 1933 New York City. Skull Island, deep in the southern waters
King Kong is a 2005 epic monster adventure film co-written, produced, and directed by Peter Jackson. A remake of the 1933 film of the same name, the film stars Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, and, through motion capture, Andy Serkis as the title character. Set in 1933, King Kong tells the story of an ambitious filmmaker who coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island. There they encounter Kong, a legendary giant gorilla, whom they capture and take to New York City.
spacetime coordinates: 1933 rural Alabama, Manderlay plantation
Manderlay is a 2005 internationally co-produced avant-garde drama film written and directed by Lars von Trier and the second part of von Trier’s projected USA – Land of Opportunities trilogy. It stars Bryce Dallas Howard, who replaces Nicole Kidman in the role of Grace Mulligan. The film co-stars Willem Dafoe, replacing James Caan. Lauren Bacall, Željko Ivanek, Jeremy Davies, and Chloë Sevigny return portraying different characters from those in Dogville. Only John Hurt, Udo Kier, and Jean-Marc Barr reprise their roles.