“Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages is offered to you as an e-book. It revises, reorganizes, and expands on several earlier posts. What’s the new wrinkle? For the first time we offer film clips ‘baked into’ the text. A version without extracts is also available. The cost for either one is $1.99. You can acquire either here, along with more information. What follows provides a little background on the project.” —David Bordwell, Our new e-book on Christopher Nolan!
The interview with Christopher Nolan is a 24-minute on-stage affair before a live audience, and ends with a fairly extensive Q&A session. Produced as an Independent Feature Project by the IFC (specifically as part of their ‘Independent Focus’ series), this interview gives Nolan a chance to go into greater detail regarding the film noir aspects of Memento, as well as delving into discussions of time sense, the unreliable narrator, the actual medical condition of anterograde amnesia, and how Guy Pearce as an actor — somewhat ironically — actually had a fantastic memory. He also contrasts Memento with his first film, Following. (For instance, while the latter was shot catch-as-catch-can at weekends over the course of a year, the former was filmed at a blistering pace in 25 days flat.) —Bex
A few years back, I got a call from an agent and he said, “Will you come see this film? It’s a small, independent film a client made. It’s been making the festival circuit and it’s getting a really good response but no distributor will pick it up, and I really want you to take a look at it and tell me what you think.” The film was called Memento. So the lights come up and I think, It’s over. It’s over. Nobody will buy this film? This is just insane. The movie business is over. It was really upsetting. Well fortunately, the people who financed the movie loved the movie so much that they formed their own distribution company and put the movie out and made $25 million. So whenever I despair I think, OK, somebody out there somewhere, while we’re sitting right here, somebody out there somewhere is making something cool that we’re going to love, and that keeps me going. The other thing I tell young filmmakers is when you get going and you try to get money, when you’re going into one of those rooms to try and convince somebody to make it, I don’t care who you’re pitching, I don’t care what you’re pitching — it can be about genocide, it can be about child killers, it can be about the worst kind of criminal injustice that you can imagine — but as you’re sort of in the process of telling this story, stop yourself in the middle of a sentence and act like you’re having an epiphany, and say: You know what, at the end of this day, this is a movie about hope. —Steven Soderbergh, State of Cinema 2013
And that’s ANOTHER reason why this is such a great screenplay to study. Read, learn, and absorb: Christopher Nolan’s screenplay for Memento. Based on the short story, Memento Mori, by Jonathan Nolan [pdf1, pdf2]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
How did you keep Memento’s complicated plot straight? Talk some about your writing technique here.
Unlike Following, I wrote Memento on a computer, which certainly made it easier to keep things in check as to how it would read in the chronological sense. Basically I felt that the strongest approach I could take, once I’d figured out the structural conceit, was to sit down and imagine what I wanted to see on the screen, as it would appear on the screen. One of the reasons I was able to do that was that even though the film is seemingly very complex, the story is actually very simple, and that’s part of the point of the movie: we’re taking a relatively simple story and filtering it through somebody’s very unusual way of perceiving the world. —Christopher Nolan, Creative Screenwriting
Better than film school! Following audio commentary: Christopher Nolan talks about the challenges he faced while shooting his first film on a “no budget.”