Thoughts on the recent Lincoln Center/Film Comment evening of discussion between contributing editor Scott Foundas and Christopher Nolan
On Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Lincoln Center and Film Comment brought Christopher Nolan to a public audience to discuss the Dark Knight trilogy. The discussion itself lasted for about an hour and a half (with clips from the trilogy). Then there was a free special 12 page edition of Film Comment with beautiful images, and a printed conversation between Foundas and Nolan. Drilling deeper there’s a link to a page with another, longer version of the discussion, and a few other articles (and a video). I look forward to reading the longer versions of the discussion – meanwhile here are a few things I learned from the evening.
1- Christopher Nolan, known for his uncompromising adherence to shooting on film instead of digital video, also uses the “photochemical process” in postproduction. Accomplished for getting as much of the film within camera as possible, Nolan still matches back, as much as possible, to the original camera negative.
2- The transition happened rapidly, but now most films that involve any level of special-effects or blessed with at least a modest budget go through what is known as the DI or “Digital Intermediate” stage. Film is digitized to take advantage of color correction, effects, adding animation etc. Whether it was a slip of the tongue, or intentional, at one point Christopher Nolan called the process of going from film to the computer “digital interference”.
3- Scott Foundas is an excellent film writer and contributor to Film Comment. I’ve seen him do Q&A’s before the New York film Festival and his knowledge of film speaks for itself. But it was silly of him to say, after viewing the football stadium sequence in the third Dark Knight film, that it would be a crime if Nolan’s film doesn’t win a Special Effects Oscar. He must have missed Life of Pi, Cloud Atlas,The Avengers et al.
4- Nolan had Heath Ledger go to the source of Clockwork Orange, the book by Anthony Burgess, as they began to imagine who and what the Joker would be.
5- I’ve heard Nolan discuss the Dark Knight films three times and there’s no end to the amount of time I would designate in the future to hear him speak about his work. The event was barely an hour and a half including film clips – which is much too short. Especially when there was no Q&A involving the audience.