Nolan and me
Our brightest young filmmakers all have one thing in common: love for Christopher Nolan
Regarded as among the best filmmakers of our generation, Christopher Nolan, whose Dunkirk is releasing tomorrow, has his fair share of admirers in Tamil cinema. Many of our young filmmakers freely admit to taking after him, and to being raised on his films. Some of them have even adopted Nolan-esque elements into their films.
Director of Maya
I love how Nolan has balanced art house sensibilities with mainstream big-budget filmmaking. I enjoy how his narrative is always a bit twisted. He’s a master of non-linear filmmaking, and narrates his stories as though it were a novel.
In my Maya, I had to juggle between the narration of two stories. It was a film inside a film, with horror elements. Nolan’s style of narration inspired me to adopt this narrative style. To differentiate between the horror and drama segments, I switched between colour, and black-and-white visuals. I decided to do this during the scripting stage. Every transition and every cut was decided at that stage.
Director of Dhuruvangal Padhinaaru
Nolan’s The Prestige left me speechless. As a member of the audience, the intensity in this multi-layered nature of the movie left me wishing that the film had gone on and on. I think it would have been quite apparent to everyone that many elements in my film, like the different point of views, different timelines getting tied up in a single space, and the attention to detail were all inspired by The Prestige.
I’m eagerly waiting to catch Dunkirk. I’m told the story is narrated from multiple perspectives: of an infantryman, a pilot and a member of the Navy.
Director of Managaram
Although I love all his films, his debut, The Following, is my favourite, as it is an independent movie. The importance that has always been given to sound in his movies is an aspect I’ve tried to use in my film.
When you begin your filmmaking journey with a small-budget film, as many directors including Nolan do, sound designing, editing and mixing can often help bring in the feeling of grandeur. It paints a picture that the film is well-executed. In my opinion, it is sound that makes you forget everything and be mesmerised in a theatre. We attempted to do this in Managaram. Say, if the scene happens in a Jaguar car, the idea is to try and ensure that the sound you hear in the scene is that which you’d hear inside a such a car.
There’s a shot in Maanagaram in which a train runs atop a bridge, while a conversation happens underneath the bridge. We shot it under a bridge. Nolan is well-known for making sure that much of the visuals is generated while shooting, with little reliance on VFX.
Also, it is from him that I learned when and where to introduce background score in my film.
Director of Netru Indru Naalai
What I love about Nolan’s school of filmmaking is that he doesn’t stick to a style only to cheat the audience. He throws in all the clues and it is right there for the audience to notice it. He also connects all the dots making sure he leaves no loose ends. That is something I tried to do in Netru Indru Naalai.
Also, did you know that he underwent a separate course to prepare himself for Interstellar? It’s a lesson to each filmmaker to be prepared for a film. I am looking forward to watching Dunkirk on the IMAX screen and hope to catch its first-day-first-show. Hopefully this time, he will get the Oscar he deserves.