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'The Prestige' - Screening @ deciBel

Where does someone begin in praising Christopher Nolan’s films? The British-born, American-based director and screenwriter has made only eight so far – Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises - but each and every one of them has managed to achieve, in their own terms, the chimera that many directors strive for: making intelligent and profitable films that can carry the sensibility of their creators.

Let’s face it, how many directors nowadays can put out films that can make money, attract large audiences and simultaneously be considered art cinema?

There are many reasons to love Nolan's approach to filmmaking, for instance, his categorical refuse to work with digital cameras and his consequent ability to persuade producers to give him the funding to shoot using film, a heavy task on its own. His storytelling style is far from being straightforward, in fact he has shown a predilection towards head-scratching stories and editing techniques, you really have to bring your brain with you when you watch one of his films, yet his work is entertaining and dazzling.

From Following to the Batman trilogy, Nolan has focused his attention on conflicted male characters that are constantly fighting their demons, those re-discovering their pasts; surpassing a rival or saving an entire city. Looking closely, each character is not overanalyzed, the often non-linear storyline seems to take the viewer as close as possible to savour what the protagonists are experiencing.

In many ways, it is more a journey of the senses since you do not really have the time to deconstruct and understand everything that is happening in front of your eyes, and here comes Nolan’s joke on us, if you wish: his stories and protagonists are ultimately very simple; they go back to the pure elements of our human nature.

Memento hit like a meteorite film aficionados, while the Batman trilogy attracted the wider audience; between those two came a revealing great film and my personal favourite one, The Prestige.

Set in the 19th century London, the story takes place in the world of magic, where two young magicians - Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) - compete with each other in performing the greatest magic act. Their competition develops into an obsessive rivalry with catastrophic consequences. The cast also includes Michael Caine in the role of the mentor, Scarelett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and a delightful performance by David Bowie in the role of Tesla. True to form, Nolan tricks the audience in attentively following the magical illusions presented, the twists in the story, the back and forth narrative and then he pulls the rug out of them.

Be ready to be immersed in the intricate mechanics of delusions from both magic and cinema, to leave your skepticism and rationality at home, but remember that ultimately the film itself is the greatest magical act.

(English and Vietnamese subtitles)

Entrance fee: FREE


Wednesday, 27 November


Decibel | 79 Phan Kế Bính, Đa Kao, Quận 1