[UPDATE: We’ve added a video featuring the directors of Cloud Atlas.]

The first footage from Lana as well as Andy Wachowski (creators of The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer’s (Run Lola Run) Cloud Atlas has premiered online. The preview alone is a massive undertaking, as it encapsulates the filmmakers’ kaleidoscopic statement about human existence in a mystifying (some might say confounding) manner.

David Mitchell’s source novel (and its film adaptation) introduces a sickened clerk (Jim Sturgess) on a Polynesian sea voyage in the 19th century, scribbling his experiences down for the sake of posterity. It jumps ahead in time to the 1930s, where an aspiring composer (Ben Whishaw) discovers the clerk’s journal – while living alongside a deteriorating master composer (Jim Broadbent), who recognizes the tune his pupil plays… from his dreams.

Confused yet? The unifying concept between the six separate stories that make up Cloud Atlas is that each features the same souls, reincarnated throughout the ages (played by the same actors and actresses). For example: Tom Hanks and Halle Berry portray a nuclear power plant engineer and investigative journalist in the 1970s, respectively, who are immediately (magically?) smitten with one another. The two return as a rare survivor of the global apocalypse (Hanks) who forms a connection to an emissary from a civilization that’s risen in the aftermath (Berry). We also glimpse Doona Bae (The Host) as a human clone from the future, whose sense of individuality puts her at risk, Hugh Grant reappearing throughout the ages as “incredibly evil” people, including a vicious cannibal – and Susan Sarandon as the (eternally unobtainable) object of Broadbent’s affections.

You can listen to what the Wachowskis and Tykwer have to say about Cloud Atlas (and its six-minute trailer) in the video below:

Tykwer and the Wachowskis have constructed a visually dazzling film, evidenced by scenery ranging from the futuristic cityscapes reminiscent of The Matrix – to uncivilized portions of the world from centuries ago – and post-apocalyptic forestry populated by the scattered and savage remnants of humanity. The project required multiple directors, cinematographers, editors, and production designers, who spread out to capture footage in areas around Spain, England, and Germany.

All in all the final result is an ambitious attempt to explore issues about the cyclical nature of life, death, and human experience, in a manner that makes a film like Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain look almost simplistic by comparison. Cloud Atlas is, for sure, a daring experiment in cinematic storytelling – and seems worth checking out, even if it ultimately proves to be only partially successful.

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in 'Cloud Atlas'

The Cloud Atlas cast includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant.

You can get another early look at that ensemble in (still) motion by checking out our Cloud Atlas screenshot gallery.

Cloud Atlas opens in U.S. theaters on October 26th, 2012.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers