An Autoblogography About Love, Death & Technology
Review by Ross Anthony

Intent on creating a whole brain presentation, Connected pulls together two stories: The cautionary tale of our world riding the wave of progress into potential self destruction, and a personal story of the filmmaker, her dying father (author Leonard Shlain) and her difficult pregnancy. Both stories are compelling and interesting, though unevenly edited, and not-so-snugly integrated.

The opening is brilliant, lush with creative "After Effects" illustration/animations. Editors mix these visuals with humorous clips from old 1950's reels which serve nicely as comic-relief to an essentially completely narrated documentary (little to no interviews). The project starts out to be an environmental caution, then takes an unexpected (save for the wonderful word "Autoblography" in the title) detour into the family of the filmmaker.

Arguably, this tangent rounds out the left and right braininess (consistent with a point it strives to make); however, ironically, this results in a less connected film. While it's massively important to bring to light the world-large topics that Connected artfully and energetically exposes, and while the Shlain family story is film worthy and compelling - as a contrasty whole, the later went a bit long. Perhaps each storyline would have worked better on its own. This would give room for Tiffany to include many many many more stories of other daughters and sons talking about the process of losing their parents. Such a powerful human experience connects us all. This would have been the way to fill out the connectedness. Of course, this leaves the story of progress in need of a right-brain complement. That's a challenge I leave for the filmmakers.

Lastly, while the points made are quite lofty and of big picture quality, actual evidence is unimpressively informal and the conclusions are often correlation based. For example, Shain concludes that the internet is making people use/unify both sides of their brains, simply because the internet is a parade of pictures and words.

That said, there's a lot of talent and passion here. And I did enjoy the film over all. Perhaps even more importantly, this film has already spawned a wonderful collection of short films in a series Shlain calls Let it Ripple. They're cool, check 'em out. (I reviewed 3 of them here.) Sometimes, what one thinks of as the goal, is only the beginning.

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  • Connected. Copyright © 2013.
  • Written and Directed by Tiffany Shlain. Narrated by Peter Coyote and Tiffany Shlain.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Friday, 08-Mar-2013 16:47:02 PST