Nolan’s Drawings


I use this Christopher Nolan’s diagram in my lectures a lot. I end up asking every new batch, if they have seen the movie. Always surprised only few have watched. This is the outline of Inception movie. Whoever has watched the movie will agree with me that it is even difficult to narrate the movie to anyone who has not seen it. There are lot of interesting fan made posters on the web to unravel this complex narrative. Then imagine the trouble Nolan might have had to explain this narrative to his collaborators. I find this diagram (if you can call it one) brilliant. If Nolan make a drawing like this to explain Inception, I don’t think there are any excuses on what a drawing or diagram can  not represent ( this tone of exaggeration come the rhetoric nature of teaching). It shows time and space together. A layer underused in architecture, as we deal with static objects most of the time. This another sketch below is from the story board his team made for  Inception, which shows movement in a single frame. I found this Youtube video (clip below) where he is discussing and constructing the story of ‘ Momento’. The interviewer prompts him to draw. Even though Nolan says “It’s confusing because I don’t think pictorial/diagramatically” makes this brilliant diagram of ‘hairpin bend’ which is stroke of genius and this gesture cracks the whole narrative of the movie. And looking at the video, Nolan here is ‘extrapolating’ the time-space nature of the screenplay into a single diagram here.

In an interview he gave to the Wired magazine he talks about the importance of
“distinct undercurrent about the importance of architecture” in his movies. Nolan answers :

“The only job that was ever of interest to me other than filmmaking is architecture. And I’m very interested in the similarities or analogies between the way in which we experience a three–dimensional space that an architect has created and the way in which an audience experiences a cinematic narrative that constructs a three–dimensional -reality from a two-dimensional medium—assembled shot by shot. I think there’s a narrative component to architecture that’s kind of fascinating.”

A clip from the Youtube Video
From the story board of ‘Inception’