Watch: For Christopher Nolan, The Image Comes First, Then the Film

Watch: For Christopher Nolan, The Image Comes First, Then the Film

To say that Christopher Nolan’s films emphasize the importance of the image is not a tautology. Some filmmakers might take us on a thrill ride, filled with jumpcuts, closeups, and other visual grace notes that cause us to focus on action or plot events more than the images moving across the screen. Nolan, though, wants viewers to linger. Think of these things: Robin Williams running across logs in the water in ‘Insomnia.’ Heath Ledger’s Joker standing at a corner, head down, mask in hand, facing us as Ledger faces away in ‘The Dark Knight.’ The collapsing landscapes and cityscapes in ‘Inception’–any of them. The beauty of these moments is that they move you through the film but they also hold you in place. This excellent new Art of the Film video essay casts a new light on an extremelywell-covered director, but one from whom attention may not diverge for a long, long time.

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