CONNECTED: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY ABOUT LOVE, DEATH & TECHNOLOGY (Tiffany Shlain, 2011)
Angelika Film Center
18 West Houston St. at Mercer St.
Opens Friday, October 14
After working for two years on a film about global interdependence and connectedness in the internet age, award-winning documentarian Tiffany Shlain (Yelp: With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, The Tribe, Less Is Moore) realized that she did not feel connected to her material. So she turned inward, deciding to instead focus her camera on her close relationship with her father, Leonard Shlain, a successful surgeon and author of such books as The Alphabet vs. the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image and Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light. In an ironic twist of fate, Dr. Shlain, whose writings examined the different functions of the left and right brain in humans, was diagnosed with brain cancer. At the same time, his daughter, after five miscarriages, was desperately trying to make one final attempt to get pregnant as her forties approached. (She already had a daughter with her husband, Ken Goldberg.) This life-and-death dichotomy lies at the heart of Tiffany Shlain’s moving, deeply personal story, exactingly told in her feature-length debut, Connected. Shlain includes scenes from her original concept, highly illustrative and scientific examinations of the human species’ growing addiction to computers and cell phones, narrated by Peter Coyote, alongside animation, archival footage, lots of Harold Lloyd clips, and home movies, holding nothing back as she shares intensely personal details about her family and herself. While the idea that technology has given humans the ability to become more connected around the world is nothing new, Shlain’s intimate exploration is affecting nonetheless. Founder of the Webby Awards, Shlain, who currently observes a technology Shabbat, turning off all electronic equipment every Saturday, has organized a series of special events at the Angelika, where Connected is scheduled to run October 14-20, with Q&As following select screenings nearly every day. Among the participants who will be looking at various aspects of technology and culture are Todd Oldham and Anna Deavere Smith (October 14, 7:15), Jennie Livingston (October 15, 4:40), Reboot, Jumpstart, Natan, and Heeb magazine (October 15, 7:15), Rachel Sklar (October 16, 7:15), Peter Crosby (October 17, 4:40), Ted Hope (October 19, 4:40), Paul Levinson (October 19, 7:15), and Benjamin Barber (October 20, 7:15).