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How did Christopher Nolan transform modern cinema?

Nolan’s entry into the mainstream cinema began with the movie “Memento” in 2000. A psychological thriller that challenges existing narrative norms and stereotypical structure with its non-linear and completely different storytelling; An approach that was later refined and reached the peak of maturity in other cinematic masterpieces such as “The Prestige”, “Inception” and “Dunkirk”.

Charso Press: With the beginning of the new millennium, there was an amazing transformation in the cinema landscape, and this happened just when most of the world’s box office successes were superhero blockbusters made using computer vision effects, or CGI. But in the meantime, a bold British director named Christopher Nolan completely changed the course of modern filmmaking by making works against the mainstream of cinema, to the extent that the influence of his films in this industry, even now and with the passing of more than Two decades since the release of his first film, Following, it is clear and visible.

Nolan’s entry into the mainstream cinema began with the movie “Memento” in 2000. A psychological thriller that challenges existing narrative norms and stereotypical structure with its non-linear and completely different storytelling; An approach that was later refined and reached the peak of maturity in other cinematic masterpieces such as “The Prestige”, “Inception” and “Dunkirk”. The use of these bold narrative techniques pushed past the traditional structures of Hollywood filmmaking and established Nolan as a brave innovator; A person who was not afraid to challenge the old accepted principles of storytelling. At the same time, he proved his ability to work alongside top-tier movie stars by directing films that featured actors such as Guy Pearce and Matrix star Carrie Fisher.

A view of Guy Pearce and Christopher Nolan behind the scenes of one of his most important films called Yadgari.

His trials and errors in shaping new narrative structures were accompanied by his favorite practical effects and the minimal use of computer graphics, or CGI, in an era when computer-generated images made up many minutes of the produced works and were often the focus of attention. Contacts were placed. As a result, Nolan’s commitment to the use of field special effects was a suitable and of course necessary antidote to neutralize the poison of the excessive use of computer graphics, or CGI, the impressive effect of which can be seen in his film “Interstellar”. which was released in 2014, observed; Where his 100% preference for field effects rather than advanced digital technologies in the filmmaking process resulted in a complex and astonishing array of plot and characters to depict the glittering wonders of the galaxy, which ended up being some of the most stunning. and presented the audience with the most attractive movie sequences of recent decades. His efforts to show authenticity and a real sense of excitement on the screen, whether using the revolving sets he used for the movie “Inception” or the scene of a real plane crash in the movies “Dunkirk” (Dunkirk) and “Tent” Tenet), was quite successful and the result of his firm belief in what he was doing led to the production of quality and different films in contemporary cinema, many of which are among the best in the history of the industry. In his own words: “Using CGI computerized special effects limits my directing abilities.”

Christopher Nolan’s unique works influenced even the blockbusters and especially played an important role in the revival of the superhero genre. The 2005 film “Batman Begins” and the first film in the “Dark Knight” trilogy proved that comic book movies can break out of their old and traditional format and be financially successful beyond limits. have an idea Taking into account the psychological characteristics of the caped crusader, the film turned what could have easily and effortlessly been just a bland action movie into a thoughtful and intelligent character study that ironically resonated with audiences.

The legacy of Christopher Nolan

The dark tone and moral complexities of this trilogy completely changed the audience’s expectations of superhero movies. A change that led to the unprecedented success of the movie “The Dark Knight” in 2008. By intelligently choosing the late Heath Ledger to play the multi-faceted role of the Joker in this film, Nolan not only added a multifold appeal to it, but also created the best Joker of the “Batman” films since the beginning of this character. A role that became immortal after the death of its actor and deservedly received the Oscar for the best actor. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that without Nolan, the rich and complete comic book adaptations that we still see today would not exist. He actually opened a new path and stood as a guide at its beginning.

Nolan’s interest and use of the “IMAX” imaging format, which has the capacity to record and display images with a much larger size and resolution than other traditional and old film recording systems, cements his pioneering position in the modern filmmaking industry. With “The Dark Knight”, Christopher Nolan became the first director to shoot a significant part of his film with huge IMAX cameras.

A bold move that, despite the challenges and high costs associated with the format, shows his commitment to providing unique cinematic experiences to the audience. According to him, the IMAX camera captures immersive and mesmerizing visual scenes that are a pure visual pleasure to watch. Just look at the amazing and breathtaking sequences recorded in works like “Dunkirk” and “Interstellar” to realize his insistence on using this technology.

Although we all admire him for his technical skills, it’s really the thematic depth of Christopher Nolan’s work that sets him apart from his peers. His films depict pristine and complex ideas. From the nature of memory and identity in the movies “Memento” and “Inception” to the concept of entropy (disorder), determinism and free will in the movie “Tenet”, these are all topics that Nolan explores in his works. Some kind of deal with them. He believes that the main audience of cinema has a very high mental capacity to engage with the challenging ideas of his films, as a result, his refusal to simplify the content to attract more audience has raised the overall level of his projects, and his commitment to originality is a powerful message to cinema practitioners in The item of value and durability sends unique and thought-provoking content.

Now that the word about value in Nolan’s works came up, it is interesting to know that Nolan’s insistence on using celluloid (the brand name of a type of plastic that is also used in the production of photographic film) instead of digital technology is more than a personal preference and interest. The main issue is to preserve the main and fundamental essence of cinema. Despite the digitization of the film industry, Nolan remains a staunch advocate of the use of celluloid film, shooting most of his projects entirely using raw 70mm or 65mm film. His commitment to preserving this traditional format is a testament to his passion for original cinema and shows the importance of film in the digital age. But his motivation is not only limited to the preservation of this technology, and with his forward-looking mind, he certainly – as we have seen so far – welcomes innovation in this industry as well. For example, he ordered a completely new film format for Oppenheimer so that he could shoot sequences in black and white using IMAX.

Nolan didn’t change modern cinema, he completely defined it with his innovative storytelling, extraordinary technical ability, and unwavering commitment to the cinematic form. Although the filmmaking industry is always on the path of evolution and progress, there is no doubt that Christopher Nolan’s unique influence in shaping this path continues. He also pushes the boundaries of potential and raises the bar of filmmaking for other directors around the world. To the extent that today there is a different and new word for making something unique, thought-provoking and visually stunning in cinema; A word called “Nolanesque” borrowed from the name of this great film director.

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