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Christopher Nolan Weekend

Lectures, conferences and performance

  • #lecture
  • #show & performance

From Saturday 25 to Sunday 26 November 2023

    5 rue Curial
    75019 Paris

Conferences and round tables: Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November 2023 from 2pm to 7pm
Signing sessions: Saturday 25 November 2023 at 7pm
Audiovisual performance CASCADES: Saturday 25 November 2023 at 9.15pm
Free with reservation

The exhibition “I is an other?” will be exceptionally open until 9pm + infos

Saturday booking 
Sunday booking

After consecrating a weekend to Blade Runner in 2021, Biennale Némo is delving into the filmography of the master of the experimental blockbuster Christopher Nolan at this year’s symposium. An array of scientific, artistic and philosophical questions will be explored through the lens of Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar and, of course, Oppenheimer. Lectures, conferences, along with an audiovisual performance by Franck Vigroux and Antoine Schmitt to cap off Saturday evening!

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Saturday, November 25

2pm>4:00pm – Interstellar and representations of astrophysics.

Introduction “Nolan is an other?” and presentation of the weekend by Gilles Alvarez, artistic director of the Biennale Némo.

Christopher Nolan’s cinema disrupts our intuitive understanding of time, and draws on major scientific discoveries to build its narrative frameworks. Such is the case with Interstellar, which revolves around the phenomena of time dilation implied by the curvature of space-time. Like Stanley Kubrick’s A Space Odyssey, Christopher Nolan called on the expertise of astrophysicists to write Interstellar. Where does this film stand between science fiction and scientific marvel? And is it really necessary to rely on scientific authority to appreciate its cinematic qualities?

Speakers: Roland Lehoucq (Astrophysicist, lecturer at Science Po Paris and author) – Elsa De Smet (Doctor in History of Art and specialist in visual cultures)
Moderated by Donatien Aubert and Christopher Robinson

The black hole modeled in the film Interstellar.

4:15pm>5:30pm – The multiple personalities of Batman the Organorg and his enemies.

Batman is everything and nothing: he has no superhuman powers – and is one of the few comic-book superheroes to do so – is not a mutant, is not transhuman. He is, according to Thierry Hocquet’s classification, only an “organorg” in the “equipped” subcategory. He’s a simple human, torn by his multiple personalities and social facade. Just like his enemies, from the Joker to Professor Harvey Dent (who becomes Double Face in spite of himself), he has to contend with difracted and ambiguous personalities. Starting with the traumatic shock of September 11, on which Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is based, and ending with the murder of 12 people in a Colorado movie theater by a man dressed as the Joker, a roundtable discussion analyzes the trilogy’s personalities and their hold on society.

Speakers: Thierry Hoquet (Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris-Nanterre and author) – Clément Pelissier (Doctor of Literature, associate researcher at the University of Grenoble Alpes and lecturer-author) – Dick Tomasovic (Professor of Film Studies at the University of Liège and author)
Moderated by Gilles Alvarez

5:45pm>7:00pm – Sound materials and image temporalities: the collaboration between Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan.

Over the course of six very close collaborations, true polyphonic work between Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan – notably Interstellar and Dunkirk – a singular path of understanding of the role of the musical in sound cinema was created between them. Chloé Huvet and Emmanuelle Bobée propose to tell the story of how music, sound and images interact and merge in Christopher Nolan’s cinema, revealing the mechanisms involved.

Hans Zimmer and Christopher Nolan

Speakers: Chloé Huvet (Senior Lecturer in Musicology at the Université d’Evry-Val-d’Essonne Paris-Saclay, Co-founder of the collective research group “Étude des langages musicaux à l’écran” and author) – Emmanuelle Bobée (Doctor of Musicology, lecturer at the Université de Rouen and teacher at the Conservatoire de Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray)
Moderated by Benoît Montigné and Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis

7:00pm>7:30pmBook signing session

7:30pm>8:15pm – Visit to the works Veille Infinie by Donatien Aubert and Madotsuki_the_Dreamer by Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis

Free, registration on site, limited capacity.

9:15pm>10:00pmAudiovisual performance: CASCADES by Franck Vigroux and Antoine Schmitt

The weekend will culminate with CASCADES, a performance by Franck Vigroux and Antoine Schmitt accompanying the cinema of Christopher Nolan. A work of rare visual and sonic power, CASCADES is a stream of pixels and sounds both immutable and continually changing, where disaster may strike. Synesthetic and contemplative, reflective and physical, the performance pulls us into an (almost) black hole, or perhaps a wormhole like in Interstellar.

© Quentin Chevrier

Sunday, November 26

14:00pm>3:30pm – The Nolanian cinematographic device: at the frontier of the game.

Between classicist, academic aesthetics and radical editing strategies, Christopher Nolan steers clear of the linear storytelling of blockbusters, preferring to chisel out his narratives, sometimes leaving his films open-ended in terms of their conclusions. With affluences ranging from Hitchcock to Chris Marker and Alain Resnais, via Japanese animation, he explores a cinema that flirts with the conventions of game design, and pursues the American ambition of a cinema that pushes the limits of agentivity.

A presentation by Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis and Donatien Aubert, members of the Christopher Nolan Weekend editorial committee.

3:45pm>5:00pm – Oppenheimer or the story of the advent of the nuclear age: a partial reconstruction?

With Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan returns to the epic register, after Dunkirk and Tenet. The film’s plot – which revolves around the development of the Manhattan Project involving the American government, nuclear bombs and the Second World War – allows Nolan to explore his fascination and concern for the products of Big Science (already on display in Tenet, Batman, Inception and Interstellar). As Nolan undertakes his first attempt at a biographical narrative with this film, the question remains: does he faithfully portray the ambiguous figure of his hero? What adjustments does he make to reality? And, finally, does it adequately address the threat posed to us by the development of weapons of mass destruction?

This round table includes the screening of Donatien Aubert’s film Cybernetics: From 1942 Onwards.

Speakers: Virginie Ollagnier (Writer and comic strip scriptwriter) – Benoît Pelopidas (Founder of the Nuclear Knowledge Studies Program, ERC project leader and affiliated researcher at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation).
Moderated by Donatien Aubert and Gilles Alvarez

5:15pm>6:30pm – Embedding et plurivers.

Christopher Nolan likes to stage worlds within worlds – like the dreams of Inception or the world lost in the four-dimensional library of Interstellar – in which time never unfolds in the same way. Nolan also likes to blur points of view: his characters often have an altered perception of their environment. This entanglement, splintering and alteration makes it difficult for viewers to grasp his universe, prompting them to revisit the films in search of the little clues they may have missed the first time around. To discuss these Borgesian notions, this round table proposes a dialogue between philosophical (Sam Azulys), cinematographic (Isabelle Labrouillère, Gilles Menegaldo) and scientific (Frédéric Landragin) approaches.

Speakers: Sam Azulys (Philosopher and professor of cinema at New York University in Paris and at the Stanford Program in Paris, and author) – Isabelle Labrouillère (Senior lecturer in performing arts and film aesthetics at ENSAV, Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, and author) – Gilles Menegaldo (Professor emeritus of literature and cinema, publisher and author)
Moderated by Frédéric Landragin

Excerpt from a dream from the film Inception

6:30pm>7:00pm – So, is Nolan really someone else?

Restitution by the “grands témoins” Isabelle Labrouillère (film critic and author) – Timothée Gérardin (lecturer in performing arts and film aesthetics at ENSAV)

Editorial committee and mediation

  • Gilles Alvarez (Artistic Director of Némo, Biennale internationale des arts numériques de la Région Île-de-France, produced by CENTQUATRE-PARIS)
  • Donatien Aubert (Theorist, filmmaker and visual artist)
  • Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis (Filmmaker and artist)
  • Julie Sauret (Head of communications and coordination for the arts & sciences chair at École polytechnique, École des Arts Décoratifs-Paris and Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso)
  • Frédéric Landragin (CNRS Research Director and author)
  • Christopher Robinson (Lecturer at the École polytechnique, specialist in science fiction and fantasy)
  • Benoît Montigné (Multimedia designer, teacher at ENS des Arts Décoratifs)
  • Christopher Robinson (Lecturer in American language and civilization at Ecole Polytechnique and author)

Illustration design: Peter Strain

In partnership with the Arts & Sciences Chaira at École polytechnique, École des Arts Décoratifs-Paris and Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso.