The films of British writer/director Christopher Nolan

At this time of year, my professional commitments are light, so I sign up for a number of short courses at the City Lit further education college in central London. My second such course of this summer was delivered by an American lecturer called Mary Wild. and it was titled “Christopher Nolan: dystopian dreams and hidden hopes”.

Wild explained that the protagonists in Nolan’s films are gripped by the search for definite answers which are often beyond reach. His characters are frequently morally ambiguous and driven by philosophical belief. Typically the plots are complex and the narrative is non-linear. Although he is regarded as an auteur, Nolan’s nine films have grossed more than $4.3B, so he a popular and commercial auteur and his latest work (Dunkirk”) will consolidate that reputation.

The three-hour course was focused on three Nolan films with a montage of clips from each:

  • “Inception” (2010 – see my review here
  • “The Dark Knight” (2008)- see my review here
  • “Interstellar” (2014) — see my review here

Wild’s approach to film analysis is based deeply on psychoanalysis (“I’m a faithful follower of Freud”) so much of her material was heavy-going. I would have preferred a more cinematic examination of Nolan’s work.

For a list of Nolan’s films, see here.

For an “Observer” profile of Nolan, see here.


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