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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 3, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Inside the mind of Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated “Interstellar” opens this week (on Wednesday in some theaters, and wider on Friday); I’m seeing it tonight, and my review should be posted sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, should you need some reading material for a Monday morning, check out this excellent New York Times Magazine profile of Nolan. In it, among other things, we learn that he’s always drinking tea; that his sets are among the most well-dressed in the business; that he visits individual theaters to make sure that they’re properly equipped to show his films in 35mm (a dwindling number, alas)*; that he has “the affect of a Victorian barrister with a sideline in flying contraptions”; and this:

Nolan is known for making movies that hold themselves open to various interpretations, but it’s an effect that can be created only when the director knows, in his own mind, exactly how he sees it. For the director’s commentary on “Memento,” Nolan recorded three different, equally plausible interpretations of the final scene that the DVD serves at random to viewers. But he insists he has a full, definitive interpretation that he keeps to himself. “The only way to be productively ambiguous,” he told me, “is that you have to know the answer for you — but also know why, objectively speaking. If you do something unknowable, there’s no answer for the audience, because you didn’t have an answer. It becomes about ambiguity for ambiguity’s sake. There has to be a sense of reality in the film. If you don’t have rules, then what I’m doing would be formless. I feel better with consistent rules.”

 

*For those who love 35mm, “Interstellar” will be playing in that format at the Varsity, Egyptian, Uptown, Admiral and Factoria theaters, opening Wednesday. It’ll also open Wednesday in 70mm IMAX at the Boeing IMAX Theater, and on a handful of local IMAX screens. Regular digital screenings at most multiplexes will begin Friday. If this seems like a way for the famously film-loving Nolan to send a message of support to theaters that still have 35mm capacity — that’s probably right.

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