Thursday, November 27, 2014

What Nolan shows and what I 'see' there...

And you, my father, there on the sad height,Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

(Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953, read by Professor Brand shares in the Nolan's recent film "Interstellar")

When a friend shared this poem in an e-group, I was amazed about the antitheses within the reality - 'fierce tears', 'rage in dying light' etc. When I realized that this is the poetry shared on a Sci-Fi or (Sci-Real) film - Interstellar by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan, I said - oh, oh, so this is a new facet of the Nolans.

Before I start ranting, let me say that I have liked his Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and of course, Interstellar. They are worth seeing, not necessarily to seek solutions of real life but to engage in a dream-come-true voyage while sitting on a seat with wafers in your hands.

So, here I go... What Nolan showed and what I 'saw' in the three fantastic films the Nolan's have made:

1. Dark Knight (2008) projected a fine line between heroism and activism - a self-motivated, dedicated, powerful, superior than the system person (Modi personified in 2008, but in the comic form it existed much earlier) fighting criminal calling himself a Joker (the black money holders, the terrorists, the chinese, the congress, the rapists, the cheaters etc. in today's context.). There are systems which are hidden and they do not create such blacks and whites although we all wish it should be. We yearn for saviors and remain watchers but are not doers. Somewhat a childlike complexity.

2. His other film is 'Inception' (2010) Very creative and ingenious. Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the best with art of extraction, stealing important secrets from the subconscious during the dream state. Cobb's ability makes him a high value player in this new world of corporate espionage -  a system maker as well as a victim because it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. So, he is offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. No perfect planning and management no one can predict what the corporate enemy would do because the enemy is also able to do so, except Cobb because of his skills of extracting secrets. It also comes back to an individual artist who can do the 'magic'. (A glimpse of the recent resurrection of Magical Realism - a miracle we all desire to happen, but know that it will never, somewhat making us numbed, anesthetized. It is not a technical skill, it is afterall a human skill.)  

3. Compared to Inception, Nolan's Interstellar (2014) is a deceptive, 'kneeling down' film. In the near future, Earth is devastated due to extreme climate changes leading to drought and famine causing food scarcity. (This existential approach does not look back as to who did it, what caused it, how we can/ could have prevent it etc. etc. Bhopal tragedy, 26/11 are redundant, a new, dark age is on but elsewhere. But where? No one knows.) When humanity is facing extinction, a mysterious discovery in the space-time continuum is occurred, giving human being an opportunity survive. Human race must go else where - out of our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. The crew of the Endurance should think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage into the unknown. Coop, the pilot of the Endurance, must decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race. Again an avtar, or avtars thinking positively, thinking big and banking upon technology and traveling to the unknown - a blind move. 

The poem has context, that though we have given up and dying but keep your rage about it on and look for an alternative. Again, no analysis that why, who, what, when and how this defeat to nature was caused because it is not needed, be active and technology would save you! Savior is not a human being but the technology. 

This is the deception. Please see the making of Interstellar on youtube. ( The amount of human efforts behind making it is tremendous, just an example - creating the wormhole and black hole, Dr. Kip Thorne provided pages of deeply sourced theoretical equations to the team, who then created new software programs based on these equations to create accurate computer simulations of these phenomena. Some individual frames took up to 100 hours to render, and ultimately the whole program reached to 800 terabytes of data. The resulting VFX provided Thorne with new insight into the effects of gravitational lensing and accretion disks surrounding black holes, and led to him writing two scientific papers: one for the astrophysics community and one for the computer graphics community. It was a collective effort which made a wonderfully creative new technology resulted in a deceptive film albeit with a scientific leadership with characteristic precision in making it happen

A lot to learn - an unlearn when out of one's seat...

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