About Christopher Nolan:
Christopher Edward Nolan CBE (/ˈnoʊlən/; born 30 July 1970) is a British-American film director, producer, and screenwriter. His films have grossed more than US$5 billion worldwide, and have garnered 11 Academy Awards from 36 nominations. (Christopher Nolan)
Born and raised in London, Nolan developed an interest in filmmaking from a young age. After studying English literature at University College London, he made his feature debut with Following (1998). Nolan gained international recognition with his second film, Memento (2000), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. (Christopher Nolan)
He transitioned from independent to studio filmmaking with Insomnia (2002), and found further critical and commercial success with The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005–2012), The Prestige (2006), and Inception (2010), which received eight Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. This was followed by Interstellar (2014), Dunkirk (2017), and Tenet (2020). He earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director for his work on Dunkirk. (Christopher Nolan)
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 work is permeated by mathematically inspired images and concepts, unconventional narrative structures, practical special effects, experimental soundscapes, large-format film photography, and materialistic perspectives. He has co-written several of his films with his brother Jonathan, and runs the production company Syncopy Inc. with his wife Emma Thomas. (Christopher Nolan)
Nolan has received many awards and honours. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2015, and in 2019, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to film. (Christopher Nolan)
Nolan was born in Westminster, London, and grew up in Highgate. His father, Brendan James Nolan, was a British advertising executive who worked as a creative director. His mother, Christina (née Jensen), was an American flight attendant who would later work as an English teacher. Nolan’s childhood was split between London and Evanston, Illinois, and he has both British and US citizenship. He has an elder brother, Matthew, and a younger brother, Jonathan, also a filmmaker. (Christopher Nolan)
Growing up, Nolan was particularly influenced by the work of Ridley Scott, and the science fiction films 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Star Wars (1977). He began making films at age seven, borrowing his father’s Super 8 camera and shooting short films with his action figures. These films included a stop motion animation homage to Star Wars called Space Wars. (Christopher Nolan)
He cast his brother Jonathan and built sets from “clay, flour, egg boxes and toilet rolls.” His uncle, who worked at NASA building guidance systems for the Apollo rockets, sent him some launch footage: “I re-filmed them off the screen and cut them in, thinking no-one would notice”, Nolan later remarked. From the age of eleven, he aspired to be a professional filmmaker. Between 1981 and 1983, Nolan enrolled at Barrow Hills, a Catholic prep school in Weybridge, Surrey, run by Josephite priests. In his teenage years, Nolan started making films with Adrien and Roko Belic. Nolan and Roko co–directed the surreal8 mm Tarantella (1989), which was shown on Image Union, an independent film and video showcase on the Public Broadcasting Service. (Christopher Nolan)
Nolan was educated at Haileybury and Imperial Service College, an independent school in Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire, and later read English literature at University College London (UCL). Opting out of a traditional film education, he pursued “a degree in something unrelated … because it gives a different take on things.” He chose UCL specifically for its filmmaking facilities, which comprised a Steenbeck editing suite and 16 mm film cameras. Nolan was president of the Union’s Film Society, and with Emma Thomas (his girlfriend and future wife) he screened 35 mm feature films during the school year and used the money earned to produce 16 mm films over the summers. (Christopher Nolan)
Nolan is married to Emma Thomas, whom he met at University College London when he was 19. She has worked as a producer on all of his films, and together they founded the production company Syncopy Inc. The couple have four children and reside in Los Angeles, California. Protective of his privacy, he rarely discusses his personal life in interviews. (Christopher Nolan)
However, he has publicly shared some of his sociopolitical concerns for the future, such as the current conditions of nuclear weapons and environmental issues that he says need to be addressed. He has also expressed an admiration for scientific objectivity, wishing it were applied “in every aspect of our civilization.” Nolan made a donation to Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign in 2012, and he serves on the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) Board of Governors. (Christopher Nolan)
Nolan prefers not to use a mobile phone or an email address, saying, “It’s not that I’m a Luddite and don’t like technology; I’ve just never been interested … When I moved to Los Angeles in 1997, nobody really had cell phones, and I just never went down that path.” In an interview with People in December 2020, Nolan confirmed he does not have an email or a smartphone, but has a “little flip phone” that he takes with him from time to time. (Christopher Nolan)
Nolan’s films are often grounded in existential and epistemological themes, exploring the concepts of time, memory, and identity. His work is characterised by mathematically inspired ideas and images, unconventional narrative structures, materialistic perspectives, and evocative use of music and sound. Guillermo del Toro called Nolan “an emotional mathematician”. (Christopher Nolan)
BBC‘s arts editor Will Gompertz described the director as “an art house auteur making intellectually ambitious blockbuster movies that can leave your pulse racing and your head spinning.” Film theoristDavid Bordwell opined that Nolan has been able to blend his “experimental impulses” with the demands of mainstream entertainment, further describing his oeuvre as, “experiments with cinematic time by means of techniques of subjective viewpoint and crosscutting.” (Christopher Nolan)
Nolan’s use of practical, in-camera effects, miniatures and models, as well as shooting on celluloid film, has been highly influential in early 21st century cinema. IndieWire wrote in 2019 that the director “kept a viable alternate model of big-budget filmmaking alive” in an era where blockbuster filmmaking has become “a largely computer-generated art form.” (Christopher Nolan)
Awards and honours
As of 2021, Nolan has been nominated for five Academy Awards, five British Academy Film Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. His films have received a total of 36 Oscar nominations and 11 wins. Nolan was named an Honorary Fellow of UCL in 2006, and conferred an honorary doctorate in literature (DLit) in 2017. In 2012, he became the youngest director to receive a hand-and-footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. Nolan appeared in Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2015. (Christopher Nolan)
Nolan has continued his collaboration with the Belic brothers, receiving a credit for his editorial assistance on their Oscar-nominated documentary Genghis Blues (1999). Nolan also worked alongside Roko Belic on documenting a safari across four African countries, organised by the late photojournalist Dan Eldon in the early 1990s
“… If you picture the story as a maze, you don’t want to be hanging above the maze, watching the characters make the wrong choices because it’s frustrating. You actually want to be in the maze with them, making the turns at their side, that keeps it more exciting … I quite like to be in that maze.” – Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan is a British-American award-winning filmmaker who participated in creating some of the most successful films in the past 20 years. With a huge commitment and undeniable talent, Nolan quickly became one of the most recognizable directors in Hollywood. (Christopher Nolan)
After his feature debut named Following (1998), Nolan gained international recognition with his second film, Memento (2000). His further critical and commercial success continues with Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Interstellar (2014), and Dunkirk(2017). (Christopher Nolan)
His latest feature film, Tenet, was released in 202 (Christopher Nolan)
- You can tell a lot about people from their stuff.
- You take it away… to show them what they had.
- We all lie to ourselves to be happy.
- We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are.
- Memory can change the shape of a room, it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts. (Christopher Nolan)
- If we can’t make memories, we can’t heal.
- A good cop can’t sleep because he’s missing a piece of the puzzle. And a bad cop can’t sleep because his conscience won’t let him.
Batman Begins (2005)
- Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.
- If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can’t stop you, then you become something else entirely. (Christopher Nolan)
- Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society’s understanding.
- The training is nothing! Will is everything!
- Create enough hunger and everyone becomes a criminal.
- To conquer fear, you must become fear.
- People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed, but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.
- I won’t kill you… but I don’t have to save you.
- Justice is about harmony, revenge is about you making yourself feel better.
- It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.
- You always fear what you don’t understand.
- There’s nothing to fear but fear itself!
- You start pretending to have fun, you might have a little by accident.
The Prestige (2006)
- Man’s reach exceeds his imagination!
- The audience knows the truth, the world is simple. It’s miserable, solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second, then you could make them wonder. And then you got to see something very special.
- The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.
- The sacrifice… that’s the price of a good trick.
- Obsession is a young man’s game.
- Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it, because, of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.
- You’re familiar with the phrase “Man’s reach exceeds his grasp”? It’s a lie. Man’s grasp exceeds his nerve.
- Things don’t always go as planned. That’s the beauty of science.
- Society tolerates only one change at a time.
The Dark Knight (2008)
- You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.
- The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance.
- Whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you… stranger. Joker
- If you’re good at something, never do it for free. Joker
- Madness… is like gravity. All it takes is a little push! Joker
- It’s not about money… its about sending a message. Joker
- Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.
- An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you. Cobb
- Positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. Cobb
- Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange. Cobb
- The seed that we planted in this man’s mind may change everything. Cobb
- Downwards is the only way forwards. Cobb
- True inspiration is impossible to fake. Arthur
- You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling. Eames
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
- Suffering builds character.
- It doesn’t matter who we are, what matters is our plan. Bane
- You think darkness is your ally? But you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it. Molded by it. Bane
- Maybe it’s time we all stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day.
- A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended. Batman
- Murphy’s law doesn’t mean that something bad will happen. What it means is whatever can happen, will happen. Cooper
- We used to look up in the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt. Cooper
- This world’s a treasure, but it’s been telling us to leave for a while now. Cooper
- Mankind was born on Earth, it was never meant to die here. Cooper
- Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future. Cooper
- Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration.
- Accident is the first building block of evolution.
Dr. Amelia Brand
- Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.
Dr. Amelia Brand
- Don’t trust the right thing done for the wrong reason. The why of the thing, that’s the foundation.
- I’m not afraid of death. I’m an old physicist. I’m afraid of time.
Dr. John Brand
- Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dr. John Brand (‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ by Dylan Thomas)
- Men my age dictate this war. Why should we be allowed to send our children to fight it?
- Seeing home doesn’t help us get there.
- Wars are not won by evacuations.
Tommy (reading Churchill’s statement in the newspaper)
- I’m not the man they send to negotiate. Or the man they send to make deals. But I’m the man people talk to.
- One man’s probability of death is another man’s possibility for a life.
- We’re the people saving the world from what might have been. The world will never know what could happen. And even if they did, they wouldn’t care. Because no one cares about the bomb that didn’t go off. Only the one that did. Neil
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