Prologue

An original action espionage film releasing in IMAX on August 12, 2020
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Dude that’s bullshit. I dunno what to say, I have no clue about legal shit like that. As long as you’re not claiming it as yours then you should be fine.

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After some research I found out that the German law firm that sued me only does filesharing cases. It's almost an automatic process that's why they can send out over 150.000 (!!!) dissuasions per year.
Luckily there are many law firms that specialize in defending these filesharing cases.

Germany is one of the most strict countries when it comes to filesharing. In other European countries like the Netherlands or Belgium it doesn't get prosecuted at all.
In the US I think you would just get a warning - at least that's what I read.

Just singing the papers and paying them would've been the worst thing to do, so I'm happy now that I have a great defense.

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I like thinking about the opening shots of movies and what motivates the choice of a particular opening shot, and I think it’s interesting how Tenet’s is quite different from the opening shots of Nolan’s other films.

The first images that we see in Following, Memento, and Insomnia are close-ups of either a character’s hands performing an action, or narratively significant elements (in Insomnia, it’s the blood seeping into the shirt).

In the rest of Nolan’s films, the opening shots are usually focused on narratively significant objects, characters, or occurrences, though they’re not always close-ups.

In Batman Begins, we first see a swarm of bats forming the bat symbol – unless you don’t count that, in which case the first shot within the diegesis is the disorienting moving shot of the garden at Wayne Manor where young Bruce and Rachel are playing. The disorienting nature of the shot gives it a dreamlike sensibility, which is of course apt since it turns out to be Bruce’s dream. In The Dark Knight Rises, we first see Gordon speaking at a podium.

The Dark Knight is the most different of the trilogy since the opening shot doesn’t feature any notable symbols, characters, or a character-specific setting like Wayne Manor, and the shot itself doesn’t seem to be framed from the perspective of a particular character (like the dreamlike flashback in BB). It’s just a tracking shot of a cityscape. Still, there’s a kineticism to the shot that gives it purpose other than just establishing the setting – it’s obviously moving towards one particular building, anticipating the shattering of the window. So even if there are no significant symbols or characters in TDK’s first shot, something significant still happens.

In The Prestige, we first see the pile of hats in the woods, whose significance we learn later on. In Inception, we have a close-up of ocean waves, a symbol of the unconscious mind. Interstellar opens with the bookcase, again an object whose significance we learn later on.

In Dunkirk, we initially see a group of soldiers walking under a flurry of German propaganda posters—a shot that immediately establishes the tone of the film with its sense of desolation. The choice to have the soldiers’ backs facing the camera also feels purposeful in that it communicates the film’s approach to character. The film is about the collective (not the individual) experience of survival, and the blank-slate characters serve as an audience surrogate. They are initially presented as faceless because they could be anyone or any of us.

Tenet, on the other hand, feels like the first Nolan film where the opening shot feels weirdly pedestrian. There are no narratively significant characters, occurrences, or symbolic objects featured… it feels like it’s merely there to establish the setting. But part of me wonders if this was deliberate on Nolan’s part – because the film is his take on a Bond movie, the beginning is clearly his attempt at the Bondian “cold open.”

In earlier Bond films especially, the opening shots are not usually very memorable, and only serve to drop the viewer into a particular location where things are normal/peaceful until the action starts (which is exactly what happens in Tenet). After the initial gun barrel sequence in a Bond film, the gun barrel will often open up onto a shot of a setting that doesn’t feature any significant characters, closeups, or important objects, with the camera panning casually. In the case of Tenet, it’s very easy to imagine a gun barrel sequence preceding its very casual opening shot.

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Janky Sam wrote:
February 12th, 2021, 9:30 pm
I like thinking about the opening shots of movies and what motivates the choice of a particular opening shot, and I think it’s interesting how Tenet’s is quite different from the opening shots of Nolan’s other films.

The first images that we see in Following, Memento, and Insomnia are close-ups of either a character’s hands performing an action, or narratively significant elements (in Insomnia, it’s the blood seeping into the shirt).

In the rest of Nolan’s films, the opening shots are usually focused on narratively significant objects, characters, or occurrences, though they’re not always close-ups.

In Batman Begins, we first see a swarm of bats forming the bat symbol – unless you don’t count that, in which case the first shot within the diegesis is the disorienting moving shot of the garden at Wayne Manor where young Bruce and Rachel are playing. The disorienting nature of the shot gives it a dreamlike sensibility, which is of course apt since it turns out to be Bruce’s dream. In The Dark Knight Rises, we first see Gordon speaking at a podium.

The Dark Knight is the most different of the trilogy since the opening shot doesn’t feature any notable symbols, characters, or a character-specific setting like Wayne Manor, and the shot itself doesn’t seem to be framed from the perspective of a particular character (like the dreamlike flashback in BB). It’s just a tracking shot of a cityscape. Still, there’s a kineticism to the shot that gives it purpose other than just establishing the setting – it’s obviously moving towards one particular building, anticipating the shattering of the window. So even if there are no significant symbols or characters in TDK’s first shot, something significant still happens.

In The Prestige, we first see the pile of hats in the woods, whose significance we learn later on. In Inception, we have a close-up of ocean waves, a symbol of the unconscious mind. Interstellar opens with the bookcase, again an object whose significance we learn later on.

In Dunkirk, we initially see a group of soldiers walking under a flurry of German propaganda posters—a shot that immediately establishes the tone of the film with its sense of desolation. The choice to have the soldiers’ backs facing the camera also feels purposeful in that it communicates the film’s approach to character. The film is about the collective (not the individual) experience of survival, and the blank-slate characters serve as an audience surrogate. They are initially presented as faceless because they could be anyone or any of us.

Tenet, on the other hand, feels like the first Nolan film where the opening shot feels weirdly pedestrian. There are no narratively significant characters, occurrences, or symbolic objects featured… it feels like it’s merely there to establish the setting. But part of me wonders if this was deliberate on Nolan’s part – because the film is his take on a Bond movie, the beginning is clearly his attempt at the Bondian “cold open.”

In earlier Bond films especially, the opening shots are not usually very memorable, and only serve to drop the viewer into a particular location where things are normal/peaceful until the action starts (which is exactly what happens in Tenet). After the initial gun barrel sequence in a Bond film, the gun barrel will often open up onto a shot of a setting that doesn’t feature any significant characters, closeups, or important objects, with the camera panning casually. In the case of Tenet, it’s very easy to imagine a gun barrel sequence preceding its very casual opening shot.
I think that the more Nolan can use IMAX, the more he can establish opening shots. It also depends on how the score plays a role in how he wants to communicate that opening.

Additionally, I have my own two bits of "Nolanism" insights, spoiled both for length and content.

^ Interestingly enough, one think that I thought about all of Nolan's openings is they begin with the protagonist waking up.

Memento
Insomnia
Batman Begins
Inception
Interstellar
Tenet


People right now might be scratching their heads, going: "Leonard doesn't begin Memento by waking up." Oh, yes he does! The beginning of the film's chronology is in B&W where he describes waking up in a motel room in narrative form. Even if he didn't literally wake up at that very moment, he later tells Burt that his memory loss condition is "like waking," and we can absolutely infer that he is starting a new memory sequence at that first B&W moment. I also think Cobb "waking up in a dream" in Inception qualifies... otherwise we can ignore the dreams completely and just mention when he wakes up after the music countdown finishes.

Now, I think we can cross TDK and TDKR off the list, because that would be weird if Nolan started every movie in the trilogy with Bruce waking up. People would scratch their heads, going: "Again??" I shouldn't discount Following (though I hypocritically would've counted it if our protagonist did begin by waking haha), but even if I do that's still 6/9 of them. Otherwise, it's a whopping 6/8!

It would certainly be something if The Prestige and Dunkirk also had this. I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled on his next film and see if that happens, haha.
I've also had thoughts about his film title placements. It's no secret that Nolan's film titles seem to be placed at a certain time that goes with the film itself. Let's look at the films and their respective title placings:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Following - At the beginning, as The Young Man begins straight with the act over his explanation of his shadowing techniques to inspire his writing.

Memento - The "end" photo of a murdered Teddy occurring right at the forefront, something for him to remember that event by as well as Leonard's other photos and tattoos that have concocted the lie that is his new life.

Insomnia - Also occurring right at the beginning, during the title credits and as Will wakes up and will stay awake for the rest of the movie till his death when he can finally "sleep."

Batman Begins - By the end of the movie, he is finally enshrined with the symbol that Gotham will now know him by. He has his floodlight, partners in crime with Gordon/Fox/Alfred, and he has honed his craft ready to take down his foes and the criminal underworld. Roll credits with the title.

The Prestige - Right at the beginning of the film we are looking right at it, the third act of the trick. "Are you watching closely?" The trick is right there in front of us, and is used by both Borden and Angier (in far different ways and with far different biological/chemical underpinnings) which really makes more sense the second time you see the film.

The Dark Knight - Not much to say here, as Gordon's monologue does it for us. Cue the title at the end of the film, right after the now commissioner says: "He is a silent guardian, a watchful protector... a dark knight."

Inception - Also placed at the end. The whole film is an inception on the audience, blah blah blah we've heard it before. Maybe even Cobb was incepted to let go and live his life with his kids, dream or otherwise (the dude is awake, but that's for a different debate and thread).

The Dark Knight Rises - Whether we're talking about the rising platform as John Blake will now take up the mantle, or we see Bruce end his past life to start a new with Selina, meddling well with the "rise" motif all about (and even spoken by Bane with "The fire rises" and Gordon with "This evil rises"), it's essentially important to let those bits play out before we see the title state what it wanted to state.

Interstellar - Interestingly placed at the beginning, but with the bookcase shot beautifully by Nolan's new D.O.P., Hoyte Van Hoytema. This will come back later when Cooper is in the tesseract as Murph's ghost after his bout with interstellar travel.

Dunkirk - Not much to say on this one. This could have been placed at the end without problem really, but with the harrowing opening score and narrative lines to read while they're still on the beaches and not back in England, it was best to let audiences know: "This is where we're at, and this is what we're doing. Strap in."


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So now we have Tenet. How do you feel about its title placement?

Different from any of the others in that it's not right at the beginning and shows with a film image already on screen.

I guess since that literally feels like a prologue this time and everything in the "afterlife" is when he is now a part of the organization, that makes it work well where it's at. Most of the film has a palindromic feel at that point as well (sort of), so if that's opening up the palindrome then that works... not a great argument there on my end but oh well.

I kind of liked where it was though because if it came before the opera scene, we might be asking ourselves questions about its name still instead of: "Oh shit, here we go." I like that there are a lot of parts early on in the film where Nolan restrained himself from too much time inversion stuff. It's once in the prologue, some inversion exposition with Barbara, we get the hallway fight like a half hour later, and we don't see anything inverted again until Neil's "It's not Estonian, it's backwards" line. So we're not too stuck on that in the beginning, and we let the action Nolan wants to show us take its form.

Could have it worked at the end, though? The whole movie in itself is a temporal pincer, so there is that. Does it take away from seeing Christopher Nolan's name afterward, or does it add to it? Would removing it from where it is not properly separate Protag's supposed death and give us passage of time (like the hypothermic hibernation bit failed to do IMO)?

Curious to hear your thoughts. One thing for sure: I'm glad that Nolan still seemingly cares about where his title is placed, and why he does it.
Last edited by MuffinMcFluffin on February 13th, 2021, 4:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Mcfluffy can you pls use spoiler tags, you know where to put them

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Nomis wrote:
February 13th, 2021, 4:51 pm
Mcfluffy can you pls use spoiler tags, you know where to put them
Got it! I'll just wrap it around the whole thing, for length and content. I was so busy reading the post above me I forgot which thread I was in.

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That's alright!

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MuffinMcFluffin wrote:
February 13th, 2021, 4:46 pm

I think that the more Nolan can use IMAX, the more he can establish opening shots. It also depends on how the score plays a role in how he wants to communicate that opening.

Additionally, I have my own two bits of "Nolanism" insights, spoiled both for length and content.

^ Interestingly enough, one think that I thought about all of Nolan's openings is they begin with the protagonist waking up.

Memento
Insomnia
Batman Begins
Inception
Interstellar
Tenet


People right now might be scratching their heads, going: "Leonard doesn't begin Memento by waking up." Oh, yes he does! The beginning of the film's chronology is in B&W where he describes waking up in a motel room in narrative form. Even if he didn't literally wake up at that very moment, he later tells Burt that his memory loss condition is "like waking," and we can absolutely infer that he is starting a new memory sequence at that first B&W moment. I also think Cobb "waking up in a dream" in Inception qualifies... otherwise we can ignore the dreams completely and just mention when he wakes up after the music countdown finishes.

Now, I think we can cross TDK and TDKR off the list, because that would be weird if Nolan started every movie in the trilogy with Bruce waking up. People would scratch their heads, going: "Again??" I shouldn't discount Following (though I hypocritically would've counted it if our protagonist did begin by waking haha), but even if I do that's still 6/9 of them. Otherwise, it's a whopping 6/8!

It would certainly be something if The Prestige and Dunkirk also had this. I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled on his next film and see if that happens, haha.
I've also had thoughts about his film title placements. It's no secret that Nolan's film titles seem to be placed at a certain time that goes with the film itself. Let's look at the films and their respective title placings:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Following - At the beginning, as The Young Man begins straight with the act over his explanation of his shadowing techniques to inspire his writing.

Memento - The "end" photo of a murdered Teddy occurring right at the forefront, something for him to remember that event by as well as Leonard's other photos and tattoos that have concocted the lie that is his new life.

Insomnia - Also occurring right at the beginning, during the title credits and as Will wakes up and will stay awake for the rest of the movie till his death when he can finally "sleep."

Batman Begins - By the end of the movie, he is finally enshrined with the symbol that Gotham will now know him by. He has his floodlight, partners in crime with Gordon/Fox/Alfred, and he has honed his craft ready to take down his foes and the criminal underworld. Roll credits with the title.

The Prestige - Right at the beginning of the film we are looking right at it, the third act of the trick. "Are you watching closely?" The trick is right there in front of us, and is used by both Borden and Angier (in far different ways and with far different biological/chemical underpinnings) which really makes more sense the second time you see the film.

The Dark Knight - Not much to say here, as Gordon's monologue does it for us. Cue the title at the end of the film, right after the now commissioner says: "He is a silent guardian, a watchful protector... a dark knight."

Inception - Also placed at the end. The whole film is an inception on the audience, blah blah blah we've heard it before. Maybe even Cobb was incepted to let go and live his life with his kids, dream or otherwise (the dude is awake, but that's for a different debate and thread).

The Dark Knight Rises - Whether we're talking about the rising platform as John Blake will now take up the mantle, or we see Bruce end his past life to start a new with Selina, meddling well with the "rise" motif all about (and even spoken by Bane with "The fire rises" and Gordon with "This evil rises"), it's essentially important to let those bits play out before we see the title state what it wanted to state.

Interstellar - Interestingly placed at the beginning, but with the bookcase shot beautifully by Nolan's new D.O.P., Hoyte Van Hoytema. This will come back later when Cooper is in the tesseract as Murph's ghost after his bout with interstellar travel.

Dunkirk - Not much to say on this one. This could have been placed at the end without problem really, but with the harrowing opening score and narrative lines to read while they're still on the beaches and not back in England, it was best to let audiences know: "This is where we're at, and this is what we're doing. Strap in."


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So now we have Tenet. How do you feel about its title placement?

Different from any of the others in that it's not right at the beginning and shows with a film image already on screen.

I guess since that literally feels like a prologue this time and everything in the "afterlife" is when he is now a part of the organization, that makes it work well where it's at. Most of the film has a palindromic feel at that point as well (sort of), so if that's opening up the palindrome then that works... not a great argument there on my end but oh well.

I kind of liked where it was though because if it came before the opera scene, we might be asking ourselves questions about its name still instead of: "Oh shit, here we go." I like that there are a lot of parts early on in the film where Nolan restrained himself from too much time inversion stuff. It's once in the prologue, some inversion exposition with Barbara, we get the hallway fight like a half hour later, and we don't see anything inverted again until Neil's "It's not Estonian, it's backwards" line. So we're not too stuck on that in the beginning, and we let the action Nolan wants to show us take its form.

Could have it worked at the end, though? The whole movie in itself is a temporal pincer, so there is that. Does it take away from seeing Christopher Nolan's name afterward, or does it add to it? Would removing it from where it is not properly separate Protag's supposed death and give us passage of time (like the hypothermic hibernation bit failed to do IMO)?

Curious to hear your thoughts. One thing for sure: I'm glad that Nolan still seemingly cares about where his title is placed, and why he does it.
I like how the title's placement at the beginning helps to separate the Protagonist's
"death" from the "afterlife"
and conveys the passage of time. But I also like looking at the movie through a "Bond lens" as much as possible, so it's like how the cold opens of Bond movies end with the title/credits sequence. Of course in Tenet, it's just a very brief title card and not an extended credits sequence, plus the "Bond song" is moved to the end credits instead.

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