spacetime coordinates: 1998 – 2013 Texas, Iraq War
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall. It is loosely based on the memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (2012) by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. The film follows the life of Kyle, who became the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history with 255 kills from four tours in the Iraq War, 160 of which were officially confirmed by the Department of Defense. While Kyle was celebrated for his military successes, his tours of duty took a heavy toll on his personal and family life.w
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: Waco, Texas in 1956
The Tree of Life is a 2011 American experimental epic drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick and featuring a cast of Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Jessica Chastain, and Tye Sheridan in his debut feature film role. The film chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man’s childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, interspersed with imagery of the origins of the known universe and the inception of life on Earth.
spacetime coordinates: 80’s – 90’s Brooklyn New York City // Las Vegas, Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles
Notorious is a 2009 American biographical drama film directed by George Tillman Jr. that follows the life and murder of Christopher Wallace, an American rapper better known by the stage name “The Notorious B.I.G.”. The film stars Jamal Woolard, Angela Bassett, Derek Luke, and Anthony Mackie.
All Eyez on Me (2017)
All Eyez on Me is a 2017 American biographical drama film about hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, directed by Benny Boom and written by Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez and Steven Bagatourian. Titled after Shakur’s 1996 fourth studio album of the same name, the film stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur with Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper and Danai Gurira in supporting roles.
Brand Upon the Brain! A Remembrance in 12 Chapters is an avant-garde silent film directed by Guy Maddin and shot in Seattle with local actors.
Guy reluctantly returns to his childhood home, an abandoned Canadian island, where his parents ran an orphanage. As Guy fulfils his dying mother’s request to paint the lighthouse which served as the orphanage, memories of strange events there overpower him. An undercover investigation by child author/detective Wendy & a revolt by the repressed children, blew open a cover-up by Guy’s parents. Wendy disguised herself as her brother Chance and discovered that Guy’s inventor father performed outré scientific experiments on the orphans.
The Blue Notebooks is the second album by British producer/composer Max Richter, released on 26 February 2004 on 130701, an imprint of FatCat Records.
Richter composed The Blue Notebooks in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He has described it as ‘a protest album about Iraq, a mediation on violence – both the violence that I had personally experienced around me as a child and the violence of war, at the utter futility of so much armed conflict.’ The album was recorded about a week after mass protests against the war.
The album features readings from Franz Kafka‘s The Blue Octavo Notebooks and Czesław Miłosz‘s Hymn of the Pearl and Unattainable Earth. Both readings are by the British actress Tilda Swinton.
the Way Back is a 2010 survival drama film directed by Peter Weir, from a screenplay by Weir and Keith Clarke. The film is inspired by The Long Walk (1956), the memoir by former Polish prisoner of war Sławomir Rawicz, who claimed to have escaped from a Soviet Gulag and walked 4,000 miles to freedom in World War II. The film stars Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, and Saoirse Ronan, with Alexandru Potocean, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Gustaf Skarsgård, Dragoş Bucur and Mark Strong.
Regardless of whether or not this particular “long walk” really took place, during World War II other Poles undertook difficult journeys attempting to leave the Soviet Union. Accounts of their escapes can be found in the archives of the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London, and in the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, in California. Also, several relatively verifiable and believable escapee autobiographies have been published in English, e.g., Michael Krupa’s Shallow Graves in Siberia.
Many of the events that happen in the gulag scenes come from Varlam Shalamov’s The Kolyma Tales. (read/download PDF here)