Profile: Christopher Nolan. From “Following” to “Dunkirk”; how the kid from Westminster became the genius filmmaker we acclaim today

As Christopher Nolan released his new piece of art – Dunkirk – last week, we look back at his impressive career and the remarkable work he has accomplished since his very first debuts in 1998 with Following. The success of this movie propelled the director who kept confirming his talent since then.

However, despite his triumph, few people know Nolan’s past and history. They first admire him for his distinguishing filmography, which includes the multifaceted Inception and the intriguing Batman Trilogy he both directed. Though, if the 47-year-old man became the renowned director he is today, his origins and influences have without a doubt played a role in the whole process.

Born in Westminster and raised between London and Chicago, he used to make his own films with his father’s 8mm camera. His love and fascination for the 7th art have always been a part of his life: “By the time I was 10 or 11, I knew I wanted to make films” he once said.

All geniuses have influences. Nolan is no exception.

Despite his color blindness, the young Christopher kept on practicing, influenced by many famous filmmakers. “I have always been a huge fan of Ridley Scott and certainly when I was a kid. Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982) just blew me away because they created these extraordinary worlds that were just completely immersive. I was also an enormous Stanley Kubrick fan for similar reasons.” In the same perspective, Inception offers a completely irrational world he created on his own.

Born in the 70s, the kid from Westminster was fascinated by Star Wars, as all little boys of his age, craving to become astronauts. But he decided to be different. Star Wars made him discover a whole new experience, an imaginary world that would follow him through all his great movies: “Every film should have its own world, a logic and feel to it that expands beyond the exact image that the audience is seeing” he said.

The great Orson Welles also inspired him: “If I could steal someone’s dream myself, I’d have to go for one of Orson Welles.”

The British filmmaker studied literature at the University College London. No surprise his background also influenced his experience as a scenarist: “I studied English Literature. I wasn’t a very good student, but one thing I did get from it, while I was making films at the same time with the college film society, was that I started thinking about the narrative freedoms that authors had enjoyed for centuries and it seemed to me that filmmakers should enjoy those freedoms as well.”

Nolan has emerged as one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation.

After 21 years of hard work, many collaborations with brilliant actors (Al Pacino, Di Caprio) and an impressive filmography, Nolan reveals Dunkirk, his last applauded blockbuster. The success of this new blockbuster he directed is undeniable.

He’s an entertainer whose name is now engraved on the wall of fame. Where will he now take us? What will his next project be? He once suggested that to get ahead in your career, you’d better have a plan ready rather than a vague idea. He also revealed that he’s open to directing a James Bond film in the future: no wonder 007 would be as exquisite as all superheroes we saw in his previous movies.


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