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Nine Lives
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Nine Lives

5.0 2
Director: Rodrigo García

Cast: Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Elpidia Carrillo

Filmmaker Rodrigo García takes an unusual look into the lives of nine different women in this episodic drama. Each of the film's nine sequences has been staged as a single shot, using the Steadicam system to allow the camera to follow the action fluidly and without cuts. In these short episodes (lasting between ten and 14 minutes), Holly (Lisa Gay Hamilton) has a


Filmmaker Rodrigo García takes an unusual look into the lives of nine different women in this episodic drama. Each of the film's nine sequences has been staged as a single shot, using the Steadicam system to allow the camera to follow the action fluidly and without cuts. In these short episodes (lasting between ten and 14 minutes), Holly (Lisa Gay Hamilton) has a brief moment of reverie while confronting the specters of her past in her old neighborhood. Maggie (Glenn Close) escorts her young daughter Maria (Dakota Fanning) to a cemetery as they visit the graves of their family members. Ruth (Sissy Spacek) is a married woman contemplating an affair while visiting Henry (Aidan Quinn) in his hotel room. Diana (Robin Wright Penn) unexpectedly runs into an old boyfriend, Damian (Jason Isaacs), while shopping for groceries. Camilla (Kathy Baker) is a hospital patient awaiting surgery for cancer. Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) is a teenage girl who helps look after her handicapped father Larry (Ian McShane). Sandra (Elpidia Carrillo) is a female prison inmate who is expecting a visit from her children. Sonia (Holly Hunter) lashes out at her boyfriend Martin (Stephen Dillane) when she finds out he's been cheating on her. And Lorna (Amy Brenneman) has an unexpectedly moving encounter with her ex-husband Andrew (William Fichtner) as she pays her respects to his second wife, who has just passed away. Nine Lives premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Nine Lives, a collection of vignettes written and directed by Rodrigo García, tells each of its nine brief stories in precisely one camera shot, but this little feat of cinematic legerdemain shouldn’t be confused with gimmickry for its own sake. García makes simple points and illustrates simple truths, and in that context the short, self-contained stories make perfect sense. In one vignette, Kathy Baker portrays a woman about to undergo a mastectomy; this scene portrays the fear of loss while contrasting the impersonality of the hospital with the humanity of the nurses. Then there’s Sissy Spacek as a despairing mother in a dysfunctional household who contemplates a forbidden night in a motel with Aidan Quinn. The film’s closing and most stunning episode follows a mother and daughter (Glenn Close and Dakota Fanning) on a visit to a cemetery. The son of novelist Gabriel García Márquez, the director shares his father’s love for his characters, using seemingly insignificant details to create an episodic narrative in which lives intertwine and people touch each other even though they are strangers. Low-key and unpredictable, Nine Lives will provide intensely satisfying viewing for adventurous viewers eager to savor something out of the ordinary.
All Movie Guide
When a director has ambitious technical goals, as Rodrigo García has in Nine Lives, his narrative goals should logically suffer -- at least a little bit. Yet the Colombian writer/director avoids such pitfalls in this impressive collection of short films, each 10 to 15 minutes in length, featuring an array of female characters living in modern-day Los Angeles. Some of their lives intersect, some don't, but each snapshot reveals enough to give that story independent resonance, without the compulsive and gimmicky need to relate everyone to everyone else. Skeptics might argue that García's technique is already gimmick enough. Namely, each short unfurls in real time, captured in a single continuous take using a Steadicam. Not only is this a feat of precise choreography, it also places intense pressure on the actors, whose any stuttered line or missed cue could force them to scrap the whole shot, even moments from completion. For cinematography geeks, it's enthralling to watch Xavier Pérez Grobet's camera snake through a women's prison and navigate the aisles of a grocery store, all while his director (himself a former DP) conducts the actors to their marks at the exact right moment. Almost showing off, García even points the camera into several mirrors, without the recording device once appearing in the reflected image. But Nine Lives is no mere stylistic exercise. García remains fascinated by the social experiences of women, returning to some of the same topics from his film Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, and using a handful of the actresses (Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, Amy Brenneman, Kathy Baker) from that project as well. His technique illuminates themes from both films. "Just by looking" at these women, during key 10-minute snippets from their lives, a viewer can see the minute suffering that's central to their identities.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Q&A at the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute with cast and crew; 4 featurettes: The Women of Nine Lives, Sonia: Blocking a Scene, Working With One Continuous Take, Maggie: A Day at the Cemetery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kathy Baker Camille
Amy Brenneman Lorna
Elpidia Carrillo Sandra
Glenn Close Maggie
Stephen Dillane Martin
Dakota Fanning Maria
William Fichtner Andrew
Lisa Gay Hamilton Holly
Holly Hunter Sonia
Jason Isaacs Damian
Joe Mantegna Richard
Ian McShane Larry
Molly Parker Lisa
Mary Kay Place Alma
Sydney Tamiia Poitier Vanessa
Aidan Quinn Henry
Miguel Sandoval Ron
Amanda Seyfried Samantha
Sissy Spacek Ruth
Robin Wright Diana

Technical Credits
Rodrigo García Director,Screenwriter
Philipe Borero Sound/Sound Designer
Andrea Folprecht Editor
Barklie K. Griggs Musical Direction/Supervision
Xavier Pérez Grobet Cinematographer
Martin Hernandez Sound/Sound Designer
Alejandro González Iñárritu Executive Producer
Courtney Jackson Production Designer
Amy Lippens Associate Producer,Casting
Julie Lynn Producer
Darin John Rivetti Asst. Director
Edward Shearmur Score Composer
Kelly Thomas Associate Producer
Maria Tortu Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Nine Lives
1. Start [:44]
2. Sandra [5:04]
3. The Ubiquitous Prisoner [4:11]
4. Broken Hopes [2:28]
5. Diana [4:39]
6. Coming or Going? [5:10]
7. Old Flames Still Burn [4:21]
8. Holly [5:37]
9. Looking Back [4:59]
10. Inch by Inch [2:19]
11. Sonia [4:18]
12. Talk About the Future [2:25]
13. Continuity of Pain [3:40]
14. Samantha [1:50]
15. Heart of the House [6:16]
16. Clipped Wings Never Fly [3:16]
17. Lorna [3:57]
18. Uncomfortable Condolences [4:44]
19. Still That Bond [4:05]
20. Ruth [6:55]
21. Making Our Own Beds [3:19]
22. The Right Decision [2:40]
23. Camille [4:32]
24. Feeling Disconnected [2:23]
25. Just Relax [3:10]
26. Maggie [6:43]
27. A Higher Perspective [1:34]
28. Time to Go On [6:14]


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Nine Lives 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I rented this movie a couple of months ago and I am still thinking about it. Each short story takes a brief moment in the life of 9 women and within 10-14 minutes intserts a twist (or two or three) that left me thinking "OH!" and "WOW!" and "I SEE!" Each acting performance is top notch spectacular. And I got so involved in each story that I forgot to notice that each story was taken in one camera shot - so I went back to watch each one again! I initially rented this because I love Holly Hunter, but I have a new respect for each of the other actors/actresses in each these short stories and will not forget them for a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie talks about all kind of daily feelings we all might experience, it's like a 9 short films in one .. it's so nice and touching.