About his first experience with 2001: A Space Odyssey
I discovered this film at the age of 7 when my father took me to see it in 70 mm at Leicester Square Theatre in London. The instant the screen opened up, I felt myself going on a voyage, one from which I’ve never returned. The film made me realise that with cinema anything was possible.
About the film restoration project
After filming Dunkirk last summer, I wanted to collaborate with Warner Bros on a 4K version of one of my films. While working with different projectors, I discovered two reels of Kubrick’s feature film that the company was working on. This is how I got the idea of restoring it. I told myself that reintroducing the film as it was projected in cinemas at that time would be a wonderful gift to offer the public.
About the film’s format
When a film is restored, the media is often changed and it's digitised. We decided to keep it in its original condition, in 70mm, and reproduce the picture as Kubrick had imagined it.
About his choice of studies
It’s not that I didn’t want to go to film school, it's that film school didn’t want me! I finally pursued a degree in English literature, which actually came in handy, especially for comprehending a screenwriter's intentions in a screenplay or understanding the origin of metaphors. In the end, I don't think I was cut out for film school.
About his approach to the profession.
Stanley Kubrick said that the best way to learn how to make a film was to make a film. This is how I approached my job. I directed Following with friends, which meant you had to do everything yourself in case someone didn't turn up. In order to be able to justify your exacting demands in a profession, you must be able to understand the tricks of the trade. What I recommend to young film directors is to touch everything. That also keeps you from being at the mercy of others; instead, you’re their equal.
About his preference for silver halide
Apart from the technical aspects and the resolution that silver halide offers, it’s mainly about the emotions it conveys. I consider it the best way to immerse the spectator since the image it offers is as close as possible to what the eye sees.
About using IMAX
I first experienced IMAX through the documentaries I saw in museums when I was a teen. I found it fascinating and was curious about how to apply it to my films due to the size and detail of the image. I used IMAX cameras for some scenes in The Dark Knight, but since the image was three times bigger, we couldn’t film more than 90 seconds per reel. All the filming depended on this factor. For Dunkirk, I fulfilled my teenage dream by filming entirely in IMAX.
About his use of sound
I've always wanted to try to marry sound effects with the music. In Dunkirk, this happened right from the script stage. I resorted to using what's called the shepherd progression, which involves composing notes so that a gradual, endless progression is achieved. Hans Zimmer’s team was able to produce the film’s entire musical score using this progression. You can thus hear a sort of continuous ticking throughout various real sound effects such as those of the engines of the boats or the running of soldiers. This consequently allowed us to convey dramatic intensity through both music and sound.
About The Dark Knight trilogy
What distinguished my approach to Batman from everything I had ever done before was the profound dark side that permeated him. As for the villain, he served to define the film’s genre. Making a sequel is only pertinent if you succeed in introducing a new dimension, and it is for this reason that the three films belong to different genres.