David Bordwell's website on cinema   click for CV




Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder

On the History of Film Style pdf online

Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling

Film Art: An Introduction

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages pdf online

Pandora’s Digital Box: Films, Files, and the Future of Movies pdf online

Planet Hong Kong, second edition pdf online

The Way Hollywood Tells It pdf online

Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Figures Traced In Light

Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907–1934 pdf online


Hou Hsiao-hsien: A new video lecture!

CinemaScope: The Modern Miracle You See Without Glasses

How Motion Pictures Became the Movies

Constructive editing in Pickpocket: A video essay


Rex Stout: Logomachizing

Lessons with Bazin: Six Paths to a Poetics

A Celestial Cinémathèque? or, Film Archives and Me: A Semi-Personal History

Shklovsky and His “Monument to a Scientific Error”

Murder Culture: Adventures in 1940s Suspense

The Viewer’s Share: Models of Mind in Explaining Film

Common Sense + Film Theory = Common-Sense Film Theory?

Mad Detective: Doubling Down

The Classical Hollywood Cinema Twenty-Five Years Along

Nordisk and the Tableau Aesthetic

William Cameron Menzies: One Forceful, Impressive Idea

Another Shaw Production: Anamorphic Adventures in Hong Kong

Paolo Gioli’s Vertical Cinema

(Re)Discovering Charles Dekeukeleire

Doing Film History

The Hook: Scene Transitions in Classical Cinema

Anatomy of the Action Picture

Hearing Voices

Preface, Croatian edition, On the History of Film Style

Slavoj Žižek: Say Anything

Film and the Historical Return

Studying Cinema


Book Reports

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages (second edition)
by David Bordwell with Kristin Thompson
71-page PDF, 11 x 8.5 inches.


For background on Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages, see this blog entry, and read below on this page.

Christopher Nolan is widely considered one of the most accomplished living filmmakers. The Dark Knight, Inception, and many other of his films rank high in moviegoers’ esteem. This book traces out some of his contributions to modern American cinema—particularly his unique experiments in narrative form.

More generally, his career offers us an occasion to think through some issues about creativity and originality in modern Hollywood. How innovative can filmmakers be without losing the audience? How to combine complexity with clarity? Nolan’s career offers some solutions to these questions.

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages is derived from several popular entries on the blog Observations on Film Art. The book recasts these entries and integrates them into a continuous argument, while adding illustrations and new material written especially for the book. David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson analyze Following, Memento, The Prestige, Inception, Interstellar, and Dunkirk. After gauging Nolanís command of editing and scene construction, the authors go on to concentrate on his innovations in movie storytelling. The book treats his work as a continuing experiment with time, crosscutting, and stories within stories, all the while relying on “rule sets” that create distinct cinematic worlds. The book also argues that Nolan has been able to blend his experimental impulses with the demands of mainstream entertainment.

Table of Contents
Introduction: How to innovate
Chapter One: Style without style?
Chapter Two: Storytelling as a Formal Project
Chapter Three: Are You Watching Closely?
Chapter Four: Dream a Little Dream within a Dream with Me
Chapter Five: Pathos and the Puzzle Box
Chapter Six: The Art Film as Event Movie
Conclusion: Midcult auteur?
References and further reading
Appendix: Based on Uncle Scrooge? That’s rich!
Appendix: Further Notes on Dunkirk: Times and Timing

David Bordwell
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