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Non-book Works Like <font color=#0C5FF0><font color=#0C5FF0>House</font></font> of Leaves

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  • Non-book Works Like <font color=#0C5FF0><font color=#0C5FF0>House</font></font> of Leaves

    I saw the "Books Like of Leaves" thread, and, while it's definitely helpful for furthering my already full reading list, I thought it might be interesting to expand our "like of Leaves" label to other mediums. After all, of Leaves is a book that is not a book, so why limit ourselves to finding books that are similar to HoL in style, theme, or effect.

    Movies, T.V. shows, music, and "new media" all are equal vessels of art. List any other works from ANY medium here that you think is similar to of Leaves, be it by style, the themes and subjects discussed, or just the way it made you feel when you read it.

    For me:


    Memento: Anyone who's seen Memento knows what I'm talking about. This movie definitely redefines the "anachronistic" style of story telling. To put it simply, it's a story told backwards by a narrator who cannot generate new memories because of an accident in the past as he tries to catch the man who murdered his wife. Christopher Nolan directed and it plays with your head on the same level that HoL does.

    Rashoman and Pulp Fiction: I feel these both deserve mention because both of them use a similar style of story telling that forces the audience to make their own interpretations and conclusions. Like picking up the narrative pieces in HoL to form the whole puzzle, both of these movies present you only parts, in Rashoman, parts the reliability of which are questionable at best, in Pulp Fiction, parts jumbled up and tossed about like confetti. Putting them together almost makes these two "interactive" films (except for the copy of Pulp Fiction available in Czechoslovakia )

    Primer: A time travel movie that just... you just have to watch it. Multiple times. It's freaking ridiculous. A reviewer said it best: "If you say you understand 'Primer' you are either a liar or a savant." It's a time travel movie that doesn't dumb down the paradoxes time travel causes for the audience.


    Anorexia Nervosa by Showbread: A/N is a double concept album by the band Showbread (props to anyone who's heard of them). But the mind blowing part of the album is that it's almost three stories in one (kinda like HoL). The CDs don't come with lyrics, they come with books containing short stories. Anorexia is about a woman trying to make a difference in the world and have her name remembered... while also being a fable about a woman trying to build a stone tower to heaven... while the lyrics play a sort of in-between story for both of them. Nervosa is about her sister who tries to find happiness in pleasure... while also being a fable about a girl who digs to the center of the earth... while the lyrics, again, play an in-between for both stories. The booklets also contain hidden messages, expressed in a number of typographical styles, as well as snippets of poems and other articles.

    Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails: The music itself is not so big a deal (though I do enjoy it) but I suggest any fan of HoL to look into the ARG surrounding Year Zero. 42 Entertainment put it on and it's very impressive, telling the story of a dystopian future through fragments and pieces that the reader must put together and comprehend on their own.


    Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry): Ok, the short, no spoiler synopsis: it's a murder mystery told from different perspectives each time. But, seriously, that's putting it both lightly and flat out wrong.

    *Possible Spoiler*
    Put simply by more effectively: time travel murder mystery. The cast is in a time loop in which one (or more) of them is always murdered by another but time keeps repeating and who kills who and why changes every time. And only one character can remember any of the past loops. Also, there's some conspiracy-esque stuff with the town it takes place in and talk of a demon who's ominousness reminds me of the Minotaur.
    *End Possible Spoilers*

    It's a show that really messes with your head.

    New Media:

    Dionaea : It was mentioned in the "books" thread but it deserves mentioning here. Story with multiple narrators, multiple styles of narration, creepy , and lots of paranoia. The case for "ripped off HoL" probably has a good bit of evidence but it's still a dang good story on its on.

    There's also these modern "internet ghost stories" that play with the reader's knee-jerk reaction to believe that anything treated as serious on the internet must have some ground in reality. So ghost stories and urban legends can be especially creepy on the net when you can't tell them apart from the real deal (hence why HoL was born here I suppose).

    Those are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head, but that's mainly just to get discussion started. Anyone else got any other suggestions?

    P.S. If a mod could fix the thread title for me that'd be awesome. I don't know why that formatting crap is up there.
    Last edited by 5-pak; 05-12-2010, 04:08 PM.

  • #2



    • #3
      The Last Broadcast! (Movie)


      • #4
        I'll bite.

        As your first post indicates, there are indeed lots of films and some musical works that, as you put it, "play with your head." But I would argue that the the way HoL unsettles our assumptions about narrative is fundamentally different from the films you list (the ones I've seen, at any rate--Memento and Rashoman).

        Those films and, I'm guessing from what you say about them, the others as well, no matter how convoluted their narratives, still have a single narrative perspective. In that regard, they're no different from the vast majority of films. HoL, though, has three distinct narrative perspectives (maybe four, if you count the Editors)--distinctive, but not entirely discrete. Moreover, it's those moments in which we hear echoes of the language of one narrator in that of another that we begin to wonder just how that can be--indeed, some among the members here are persuaded that two of those narrators are actually inventions of the third. Oh--and whereas even films with chaotic narrative structures straighten themselves out by the end, HoL does not by any means explain all.

        If there's a film out there that does that sort of thing, I don't know of it--not that my not knowing of it means anything. I've not seen a whole lot of movies. Still, here are some films that, for me, do approximate the narrative vertigo HoL creates:

        Last Year at Marienbad is told from a single narrative perspective, but it has so many narrative planes to it (some of which we're given differing versions of) that it becomes extremely challenging to keep straight the events that the man relating the story says happened . . . assuming they happened at all (there's some question as to that).

        There are also a couple of Jim Jarmusch films that have different narrative perspectives that intersect in curious ways. Mystery Train has three separate stories linked by their characters' occupying the same hotel in Memphis and an event that occurs there one night. Coffee and Cigarettes, meanwhile, is a series of about a dozen vignettes which at first appear to have in common only their characters' drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Towards the end, though, actors in some of the earlier vignettes show up as different characters in later vignettes, and that leads the audience to consider that there might be something, somehow, tying all this together. But those are questions for the audience and not for the characters themselves.

        I found the opening sequence of Caché to be, from a narrative point of view, very disorienting and unnerving besides--and HoL-like as well in its making ambiguous just whose point of view the story is being told from. But that's not something that's pursued through the rest of the film.

        There may be other--and better--matches between films and HoL out there that I don't know of, and I hope someone will list some of them here.
        Last edited by John B.; 06-14-2010, 08:44 AM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by John B.
          I found the opening sequence of Caché to be, from a narrative point of view, very disorienting and unnerving besides--and HoL-like as well in its making ambiguous just whose point of view the story is being told from. But that's not something that's pursued through the rest of the film.
          Not up until the last shot of the two boys, where again you're not sure whether this is just the film or more surveillance footage, and if so who's filming? It has the potential to put an entirely different spin on the whole film, but you're never sure whether it does or if you're just imagining/reading too much into it.


          • #6
            Originally posted by fearful_syzygy
            Not up until the last shot of the two boys, where again you're not sure whether this is just the film or more surveillance footage, and if so who's filming? It has the potential to put an entirely different spin on the whole film, but you're never sure whether it does or if you're just imagining/reading too much into it.
            Yeah. Given film's nature in general--the audience's subconscious identification with/sympathy for the point of view from which the narrative is told--I'm surprised that more films don't play around with that idea. Of course, as Caché shows, if fully exploited that sort of thing would freak out audiences more than any actual images would. The bit of psychological safety--and power--the audience usually has in the cinema would be severely threatened, if not completely undone.

            EDIT: Psycho plays around with this in a pretty serious way: The film establishes Marion Crane as the film's narrative pov, but before half an hour has passed, she's dead and the pov shifts to the man who killed her. That's some messed-up shit right there, especially for 1960.
            Last edited by John B.; 06-14-2010, 09:01 AM.


            • #7
              As I said, I was simply trying to expand the idea of the "Books Like of Leaves" thread to include other works. Not start a hunt for a movie that does exactly what HoL does, nor compile a list of works that are simply confusing.

              You mention Pyscho and I would have to agree with you. The "fake protagonist" style does lend the movie a very unique narrative flow for its time (I believe the movie ultimately goes through three protagonists and one side jaunt with the antagonist but I can't recall). Hitchcock, on the whole, was willing to experiment for his films, but if I recall, his experimentation were mostly in the realm of the cinematic, not the narrative.

              As for the "narrative vertigo" you speak of, I recall The Usual Suspects, because it achieves a similar affect with one narrative in an interesting way. At the end of the movie, we know (because of the on-going investigation of the police) that whatever crime the movie is about occurred. And we know the people who were a part of that crime were real. But when we're shown that our narrator this whole time has been lying, it leaves us holding a story that we cannot quite be sure of, because we know we must doubt parts of it, but exactly which parts should be doubted and which parts not is difficult. However, unlike HoL, The Usual Suspects' seems to negate its own narrative (in superb style) with doubt. At the end, the only thing we're sure of is that majority of what we just heard was bull, but at least we are certain that majority of it is bull. HoL's not quite so easy on us.


              • #8
                The Paper Chase-Now You Are One Of Us.
                An indie/noise/post-punk concept album about fear with a lot of subtle recurring motifs.
                References of Leaves a lot, as well as the zombie survival genre. Lots of samples, orchestration, and dissonance. Really good.

                Inland Empire, by David Lynch. It's a three-hour experimental film about fantasy vs. reality, murder, superstition, the Jungian "shadow" and a whole bunch of other things. Pretty slow to start, and definitely not for everyone, but great suspense, great use of subplots, confusing as hell and has a really special way of coming together in the end.
                New Media:
                Marble Hornets (deals with a mysterious supernatural being and various records thereof in a non-linear, psychological way)
                SCP Foundation (collaborative horror fiction, uses the same ideas of reality gone wrong and malevolent places in some parts, organized as a research database)
                Last edited by vaguelyhumanoid; 08-10-2010, 04:39 PM.