an encounter with CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

So, my first encounter with Christopher Nolan’s film was with Inception (2010). I was in 8th Std when the film released and I was blown away by his strong power over the medium of storytelling. Well, I didn’t understand the film so I watched it twice in English and thrice in Hindi, but still couldn’t. Nevertheless, I wanted to know the film and the man behind; few years later I read an analysis and it boggled my mind: “Yeh Kya Dekh Liya Maine?” (What did I just watch).

And then the quest with his films followed, Mememto (2000), Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Interstellar (2014), while I haven’t watch his debut film Following (1998). He is a phenomenal director who had the sheer audacity to screen-pitch a vicarious antagonist against Batman, Joker. The Dark Knight Rises was the first Christopher Nolan film in a theater, the film was arguably the most thrilling, disturbing and balls-out spectacle followed by an overwhelming Interstellar. I don’t remember such a terrific Sci-Fi film which brought me into tears, in awe of the medium as well as quantum physics. Interstellar is filled with visual dazzle, grief, regret, mesmerizing ambition and a multi-generational narrative. It was my first wholesome “cinematic experience” which just soaked into me forever.

Nolan’s films are typically rooted in epistemological and metaphysical themes, exploring human morality, the construction of time, and the malleable nature of memory and personal identity. His body of work is permeated by materialistic perspectives, nonlinear storytelling, practical special effects, innovative soundscapes, large-format film photography, and analogous relationships between visual language and narrative elements. (Excerpt)

And gradually, we all got to know the commandment of the master over the IMAX, 35mm and 70mm for various cinematic reasons. Since, IMAX was a new experience, more of a costly affair but an unmissable adventure, I decided to witness Nolan’s recent film Dunkirk (2017) on an IMAX Screen. And voila, an immersive experience where we are put into a war zone, an unbearable jaw-dropping event. Although, the reviews are polarization from those who watched it on IMAX and normal screens, ultimately the Director’s vision being successful on IMAX as was his intention.

Last month, Dunkirk (2017), one of the greatest war films ever made won three Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. And few days later, I read: Nolan visiting India. The very same moment, I decided I have to watch the man live, let it be my fanboy moment. A director who has left a longing impression upon me that post-Interstellar I did a few college projects on Nolan also my Instagram username was: @nolanoid_ninad, I have to turn into a religious fanboy since Nolan was like an extraterrestrial being.

One fine day, I read “Dunkirk with Nolan” and “70mm prints of Dunkirk being imported” – I felt like a part of Nolan’s storytelling, construction of time clashing with personal identity and the word, “epistemology” was justified then and there (well, post-screening).

IMAX 70 mm on the other hand, is the very best that cinema projection has to offer, it provides a grade of resolution, color, picture clarity and sheer square footage of screen size that isn’t rivaled by anything else in the industry. However, 4K projection technology also requires much more lighting in order to be effective and the screen itself needs to reflect light better in order to really bounce back that extra projector lighting. The 70mm IMAX film is 10x larger than 35 mm film. It has 10x the resolution of a 35 mm film cell. Many modern movie effects are geared toward digital projection, and there are a handful of computer-generated effects in Dunkirk that look just fine in digital. But if you’re watching it on 70mm, with its slight grittiness and “noise” on the print, the effects feel like they’re all actually happening, which adds to the feeling of immersion as you’re watching the movie. So an IMAX 70mm screening of Dunkirk combines the grit and richness of the 70mm film with the immersive storytelling effects of the huge screen and “authenticity” of the film grain. (Excerpt)

Dunkirk’s 70mm

Along with a Nolanoid friend of mine, anxiously waiting for the god to present himself with his divinity. Restless as our legs were getting as the IMAX Screen kept on filling with more and more Nolanoids along with Industry Stalwarts ranging from contemporary Bollywood directors to Cinematographers. “It’s a World War II movie, and it’s a movie that really tries to put you right in the middle of this experience. It needs 70mm to really throw you into it.”

It was so freaking overwhelming to witness the greatest Director of the present time to introduce the film and make us witness the cinematic experience as he intended, 70mm. Still can’t believe we were just few feet away from Christopher Nolan, it’s a dream come true. Tears won’t be able to justify the moment and the moment should’ve paused, nevertheless taking back home an everlasting impact as a souvenir.

While 38 original prints and 4 IMAX Cameras exist in the world. What was presented, a time with audacity to work on film rather than digital. It’s not about technology, it’s about the craft and stroke. Dunkirk is a mammoth film, everybody left the IMAX Screen tearfully silent, the fact that the impact of lives Dunkirk presents us after more than 50 years is sheer tussle with cinematic capability.

To our surprise, Nolan was present for the whole duration, so yeah, we watched the film with Nolan. It was once in a lifetime opportunity, I shall be rest to peace, if cinema permits. Hail Nolan!!!!


Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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