IFFR KINO #8: Following by Christopher Nolan

On Wednesday, 7 June, IFFR KINO closes its first season with Following, the brilliant debut by Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception, Interstellar). This low-budget film from 1998, shot in black-and-white, tells the story of an aspiring writer who spends his days following complete strangers. When he breaks his cardinal rule – never follow the same person twice – he finds himself caught up in London’s murky underworld. This nail-biting neo-noir thriller won Nolan a Tiger Award at IFFR in 1999 – and marked the start of his spectacular (to put it mildly) blockbuster career.

This was way before Nolan had budgets of 180 million to play with for films such as his The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception or Interstellar. In those days, he could be seen drinking a beer at the bar at IFFR – to calm his nerves, quite possibly, as Following was in the running for a Tiger Award (in fact it went on to win one).

Following

His latest film, Dunkirk, premières in July and deals with the evacuation of British troops, surrounded by the Germans, from the beaches of Dunkirk at the beginning of WWII. A good reason, we thought, to give you another chance to see his very first masterpiece.

Ten things you might not know about Following

  • The film was made for a budget of £6,000.
  • Nolan shot the film himself, filming virtually all the scenes handheld.
  • The film was shot using a 16mm camera.
  • As he didn’t have any decent lighting equipment, Nolan decided to shoot in black-and-white, using only natural light.
  • Some of the film was shot in his parents’ house.
  • The cast and crew were not paid. They brought their own lunch to the set.
  • Filming took place over a period of one year, only at weekends because everyone involved was at work during the week.
  • Shooting was preceded by six months of intensive rehearsals, so that only one or two takes were needed when filming.
  • The whole cast, crew and all the equipment fitted into one London taxi.
  • The film was produced by Emma Thomas, who has also produced all of Nolan’s subsequent work. She and Nolan married in 1997.

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