Christopher Nolan Visits a Paris Video Store & Talks with Cillian Murphy About the Films That Influenced Him

Christo­pher Nolan has by now inspired at least a cou­ple gen­er­a­tions of young view­ers to dream of becom­ing film­mak­ers. For my own age cohort, the touch­stone work was his break­out pic­ture Memen­to, with its reverse-ordered sto­ry fea­tur­ing a pro­tag­o­nist unable to cre­ate new mem­o­ries. Oth­ers may have felt a greater impact from the real­i­ty-bend­ing Incep­tion or the dystopi­an sci-fi vision of Inter­stel­lar (to say noth­ing of all those Bat­man movies). But whether at the turn of the mil­len­ni­um or today, with Nolan’s lat­est fea­ture Oppen­heimer rid­ing high at the box office, the best advice for such aspi­rants is the same: watch as many movies as pos­si­ble.

‘The prob­lem with Chris,” says Oppen­heimer star Cil­lian Mur­phy in the video above, “is that he’s seen every film ever made.” “Not every film,” Nolan replies, a hand-wav­ing denial that only bol­sters the accu­sa­tion. This takes place amid the shelves of JM Vidéo, one of the last two video stores still stand­ing in the cinephile cap­i­tal of Paris.

Nolan and Mur­phy paid a vis­it there to shoot an episode of Kon­bi­ni Video Club, a Youtube series that has also brought on such auteurs as Wes Ander­son, David Cro­nen­berg, and Ter­ry Gilliam. JM Vidéo feels like an espe­cial­ly suit­able space for Nolan, giv­en his advo­ca­cy of phys­i­cal media. On the defin­i­tive Blu-Ray and 4k ver­sions of his films, he explains, “there’s much less com­pres­sion,” and “we con­trol the col­or and the pic­ture and the bright­ness,” where­as stream­ing is “like broad­cast­ing a film: we don’t have much con­trol over how it goes out.”

Nolan pulls off the shelves There Will Be Blood and Punch-Drunk Love, the work of his con­tem­po­rary Paul Thomas Ander­son, as well as clas­sics that shaped his own direc­to­r­i­al choic­es: Cit­i­zen Kane, For­eign Cor­re­spon­dent, Lawrence of Ara­bia, Dr. Strangelove. That last was for­bid­den view­ing dur­ing the devel­op­ment of Oppen­heimer: “I’m a big fan of Strangelove, but I stopped watch­ing it for a cou­ple of years while we were mak­ing the film, because it’s too daunt­ing” — and because its black­ly satir­i­cal take on how the men in con­trol of the bomb decide the fate of the world could­n’t pos­si­bly have been improved upon. “I’m glad you did­n’t men­tion it,” adds Mur­phy, who may not have seen as many movies as Nolan, but whose range of ref­er­ence nev­er­the­less demon­strates his own cinephile cre­den­tials. “No fight­ing in the war room.”

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Films of Christo­pher Nolan Explored in a Sweep­ing 4‑Hour Video Essay: Memen­to, The Dark Knight, Inter­stel­lar & More

Wes Ander­son Vis­its a Paris Video Store and High­lights the Films He Loves: Kuro­sawa, Truf­faut, Buñuel & More

David Cro­nen­berg Vis­its a Video Store & Talks About His Favorite Movies

Ter­ry Gilliam Vis­its a Video Store & Talks About His Favorite Movies and Actors

Hear 9 Hours of Hans Zim­mer Sound­tracks: Dunkirk, Inter­stel­lar, Incep­tion, The Dark Knight & Much More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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