Hyperlink cinema


Hyperlink cinema is a style of filmmaking characterised by complex or multilinear narrative structures, which are used in ways that are informed by the World Wide Web.


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).

It also included the style in video games. All of French video game company Quantic Dream produce games (aside for The Nomad Soul and Beyond: Two Souls) with hyperlink cinema style storytelling. 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

Directors associated with hyperlink cinema

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 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. ^ a b c d e f g Ebert, Roger (December 9, 2005). "Syriana". Reviews. rogerebert.com. Retrieved July 25, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b "Kanchenjungha". AMC. Archived from the original on December 11, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "20 Great Examples of Hyperlink Cinema Every Film Buff Must Watch". Taste of Cinema - Movie Reviews and Classic Movie Lists.
  7. ^ a b 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. ^ “Crossing Over” and Hyperlink Cinema-IFC
  9. ^ a b 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. ^ a b Toscano, Alberto; Kinkle, Jeff (2015). Cartographies of the Absolute. Zero Books. p. 192.
  12. ^ a b Bütün Filmleriyle Yilmaz Güney by Agah Özguc
  13. ^ a b c d "Top 10 Greatest Films of 'Hyperlink Cinema'". March 17, 2018.
  14. ^ The Best Hyperlink Films of the 1990s - Flickchart
  15. ^ The Best Hyperlink Films of the 1990s - Flickchart
  16. ^ a b c "20 Great Examples of Hyperlink Cinema Every Film Buff Must Watch". Taste of Cinema - Movie Reviews and Classic Movie Lists.
  17. ^ Kipp, Jeremiah (August 12, 2008). "Before the Rain | Film Review | Slant Magazine". Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  18. ^ Roger Ebert (March 11, 2009). "Exotica".
  19. ^ Booker, M. Keith. (2007). In Postmodern Hollywood. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 12–21. ISBN 0-275-99900-9. Google Book Search. Retrieved October 18, 2008.
  20. ^ a b Keith Booker, M. (2007). Postmodern Hollywood. ISBN 9780275999001.
  21. ^ Holden, Stephen (January 22, 1999). "Movie Review – Playing By Heart – FILM REVIEW; In a Cocktail of Romance, Different Flavors of Love – NYTimes.com". Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hyperlink Cinema and the Prevalence of Intertwining Stories|The Artifice
  23. ^ "CODE INCONNU". Festival de Cannes.
  24. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (January 6, 2006). "Cape of Good Hope". Reviews. rogerebert.com. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  25. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 18, 2002). "Lantana". Reviews. rogerebert.com. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
  26. ^ Declan Cochran. "11:14, an obscure gem of a movie (review)". D&CFilm.
  27. ^ Barber, Nicholas (March 17, 2015). "Fragmentation games: the return of the portmanteau film". The Guardian.
  28. ^ The 15 Best Glenn Close Movie Performances - Taste of Cinema
  29. ^ Page, Matt. (2005-06-20). "Film Review: Sin City". Open Heaven Church. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  30. ^ "Look Both Ways". Chicago Sun-Times.
  31. ^ Singh, Anvita. (November 11, 2020). "Revisiting Life in a Metro: A well-made anthology film". Retrieved October 20, 2021
  32. ^ Skinner, Marjorie. (September 4, 2008). "The Celestial Prophecy :: Living on The Edge of Heaven". Portland Mercury. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
  33. ^ Gandert, Sean. (October 18, 2007). "Paste Magazine  :: Review :: Rendition Archived February 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine". Paste. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  34. ^ 20 Great Examples of Hyperlink Cinema Every Film Buff Must Watch - Taste of Cinema
  35. ^ "The Air I Breathe – Movie – Review". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  36. ^ "20 Great Examples of Hyperlink Cinema Every Film Buff Must Watch". Taste of Cinema - Movie Reviews and Classic Movie Lists.
  37. ^ Gupta, Shubra (August 23, 2008). "Mumbai Meri Jaan (Hindi) Archived November 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine". Retrieved August 8, 2009.
  38. ^ Chang, Justin (21 February 2008). Vantage Point. Variety. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
  39. ^ Snider, Eric D. (February 16, 2010). "Portland Film Fest Review: Ajami – Cinematical". Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  40. ^ Anderson, Melissa. (May 8, 2009). "Powder Blue Review – Read Variety's Analysis Of The Movie Powder Blue". Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  41. ^ Hiscock, John. (2009-02-25). "Watchmen: the 'unfilmable' on screen". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  42. ^ Perkis, Ed. (2009–12). "Watchmen Director's Cut Blu-ray Review". Cinema Blend. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  43. ^ "REVIEW: Hereafter « Marshall and the Movies". Marshall and the Movies.
  44. ^ "Revisiting Vedam: Probably the best Telugu film of recent times?". December 2, 2012.
  45. ^ Osenlund, R. Kurt (December 2, 2011). "Answers to Nothing". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  46. ^ "Bombay March 12 Review". nowrunning. July 3, 2011.
  47. ^ Wickman, Forrest (September 9, 2011). "Steven Soderbergh's Contagion". Slate.
  48. ^ LaSalle, Mick (October 25, 2012). "'Cloud Atlas' review: Baring your soul - SFGate". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  49. ^ Hachard, Thomas (April 7, 2013). "Disconnect". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  50. ^ Devasundaram, Ashvin Immanuel. "India's New Independent Cinema: Rise of the Hybrid". United Kingdom, Taylor & Francis, 2016.
  51. ^ Kermode, Mark; critic, Observer film (January 24, 2016). "The Big Short review – life with the Wall Street sharks". The Guardian.
  52. ^ Subramanian, Anupama (July 17, 2016). "Sree-Regina film Maanagaram with a hyperlink narration". Deccan Chronicle.
  53. ^ "Review : Odu Raja Odu -A black comedy that is watchable (2018)". Sify.
  54. ^ "Anthology films, hyperlink cinema, mise-en-scene: Filmy jargon, explained". The News Minute. December 11, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  55. ^ Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch Looks Like the Most Wes Anderson-y Film Yet|CQ
  56. ^ Kasada Thapara Review: A collection of Shorts Connected By a Hyperlinked Narrative - High on Films
  57. ^ "Suikoden III in-depth review". IGN Boards (in American English). Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  58. ^ "Indigo Prophecy Review". GameSpot (in American English). Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  59. ^ "Interview: David Cage of Quantic Dream and Heavy Rain". Engadget. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  60. ^ "Resident Evil 6 HD Remaster Review – Not Worth The Replay Value". gamingbolt.com. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  61. ^ "Tips on how to save, or lose, all eight characters in Until Dawn". VentureBeat (in American English). August 31, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  62. ^ ‘Octopath Traveler’ tells eight stories, and they’re all forgettable|Digital Trends
  63. ^ "Detroit: Become Human Story and Ending Explained - Here's What Happened". NDTV Gadgets 360. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  64. ^ a b c d e Hyperlink Cinema and the Prevalence of Intertwining Stories, The Artifice
  65. ^ Ray, Satyajit (2015). Prabandha Sangraha. Kolkata: Ananda Publishers. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-93-5040-553-6.
  66. ^ a b 20 Worst Hipster Movies of All Time - LA Weekly
  67. ^ The Best Hyperlink Films of the 1990s - Flickchart
  68. ^ The Best Hyperlink Films of the 1990s - Flickchart

External links

  • Jason Kottke's explanation of the origin of the term