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Mementos Of Chris Nolan

‘Insomnia’ Director on Blue Fingernails

By Chloe Tergman

Chris Nolan, a 31-year-old English director, broke into the public eye with the movie Memento. He was recently in Boston to promote his new film Insomnia, to be released on the 24th of May. Among the newspapers he agreed to talk to was The Tech, and he answered all questions with kindness, simplicity and humor.

The Tech: After Memento’s complicated plot, do you not think that the public that got to know you thanks to Memento will not be disappointed with the simplicity of Insomnia’s plot?

Chris Nolan: Insomnia is much more simple and linear in chronology than was Memento. In Memento there were a lot of debate questions around the plot, and much less on the thematic questions. I was interested in making a plot much more transparent in its structure so that the thematic concerns would be much more directly approached; ambiguity and questions at the end are much more available and approachable. In Memento there was a constant manipulating of the audience. This time I wanted something where that was more in the background.

TT: Why were Al Pacino’s nails blue?

CN: It was cold, and in some scenes, they weren’t his hands.

TT: What?

CN: There’s a mixture, because I do a lot of inserts.

TT: What aspect of your directing do actors like?

CN: Actors like my directing because I don’t use the monitor and [I] sit by the camera and use my eyes. Overall, I think they enjoy working with me, although they’re good actors, so I don’t really know! But seriously, I spend a lot more time with the main actors and so some actors that play small roles might be frustrated because I concentrate much more on the main actors. I like to think that I’m not worse than anyone else in that respect.

TT: Are you thinking of doing another movie in England?

CN: I could if there were a project that I was interested in. I don’t see a huge difference between European and American films. Hollywood has established itself as the main and most successful conduit for broad storytelling, but Europeans also produce Hollywood-type movies.

TT: Are you critic of Hollywood-type movies?

CN: There are definitely an awful lot of banal films that comes of the system. But the most successful ones are drawn from this system, and these ones will be remembered and have a big resonance among the audience. Although it does produce a lot of crap just to make money, you can make a good studio film from Hollywood.