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Nolan time

30 Aug 2021

As the 29th Chichester International Film Festival drew to a close, the final education event looked at the work of Christopher Nolan. The director was also afforded a retrospective with films from 2002 to 2020 – Insomnia, The Prestige, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, Dunkirk and Tenet.

Always an intriguing director, the education event was an opportunity to dig into his work and draw some parallels between what is a fairly diverse selection of films. Christopher Nolan – The Traumatic Screen was an illustrated talk kicked off by Dr Stuart Joy of Solent University, author of a book called The Traumatic Screen: The Films of Christopher Nolan. Stuart’s interesting contribution concentrated on two early short films – Doodlebug and the very rarely seen Tarantella.

For the second half, Patrick Hargood, deputy education officer at the cinema and a colleague from the Chichester CineFile podcast, showed clips from Tenet and other Nolan films to highlight further the themes that pervade his films. Two hours seemed to shoot by, which is apt as time – stretched, blurred or manipulated – is a recurring Nolan trait.

Overall, I got what I wanted from the Festival, with films I would not have had a chance to see otherwise, ones I had missed first and subsequent times around, great live music, a truly international selection of movies, and fascinating education events (OK, I was involved in one of them, so I’m biased).

It is hard to select a single highlight but I was more than happy with the choices I made. There were no clunkers on my list, and if I could have found extra time (in Nolan style) I would have seen more. Patrick, Carol and I will be discussing the Festival, and doing our best to point out some highlights in the September edition of the Chichester CineFile Podcast. It will be interesting to see if other Festival-goers agree with us. The podcast will be available around 6 September, and will be added to the podcast page which can be found at anchor.fm/Chichester-Cinema, and from the usual podcast suppliers such as Apple, Spotify, etc.

Sandy Guthrie, from the Chichester CineFile podcast