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The eight songs Christopher Nolan couldn't live without

Christopher Nolan has been one of the most prominent filmmakers in the current landscape of cinema for a while now. Known as the IMAX auteur, Nolan has managed to garner critical acclaim in various genres while producing one commercial hit after another such as the Dark Knight Trilogy and Interstellar among many others.

Starting with his stunning 1998 debut feature Following, Nolan made it abundantly clear that he was a young artist with an uncompromising vision of what cinema meant to him. While Following was an intimate cinematic investigation, Nolan has gravitated towards more ambitious constructions of cinematic spectacles in projects such as Inception.

Nolan’s recent project, Tenet, was considered to be a misfire by many because of its strange execution as well as the mixed critical reception. Thankfully, Nolan has moved on to a brand new project and is currently working on a biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer (played by Cillian Murphy) which promises to be a huge production.

While appearing on BBC’s famous feature Desert Island Discs, Nolan shed some light on the kind of music he prefers. The use of music in Nolan’s films has always been appreciated by fans and critics which is why it is no surprise that Nolan chose Hans Zimmer’s work in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line as his all-time favourite.

Zimmer and Nolan have collaborated on multiple occasions, with Zimmer revealing in an interview that Nolan built Interstellar around his music: “It goes back to Chris Nolan and Interstellar,” he said. “Chris asked me to write this piece of music before he’d even written the script. So I play it to him without looking at him. You can see the couch behind me, he was sitting on the couch.”

While recalling the incident, Zimmer claimed that the moment proved crucial for the production of the film: “So I was not facing him, and I got to the end of it and I said, ‘So what do you think?’ And he’s just leaning back and goes, ‘Hmm, suppose I better make the movie.’ And I’m going, ‘What is the movie?’ Because he never told me what it was going to be about.”

Nolan also named Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’ in his lineup which makes sense because Nolan was always a huge fan of the band. In fact, Nolan had even envisioned that he would play the song over the credits of his neo-noir thriller Memento but he ran into a lot of problems due to the rights of the song and went with a different choice.

The director also included a David Bowie song in his list because of his extended admiration as well as his professional partnership with the legendary icon. Nolan cast Bowie in his 2006 hit The Prestige which served as Nolan’s attempt to pay a fitting tribute to the inherent illusions and magic of the cinematic medium.

“I came away from the experience being able to say I was still his biggest fan, and a fan who had the very miraculous opportunity to work with him for a moment,” Nolan said while talking about Bowie. “I loved the fact that after having worked with him, I had just the same fascination with his talent and his charisma. I thought that was quite magical.”

Check out the full list below.

Christopher Nolan’s favourite songs:

  • ‘Journey to the Line’ – Hans Zimmer
  • ‘Paranoid Android’ – Radiohead
  • ‘Fantasia for Four Hands in F minor, D. 940 (Op. 103)’ – Franz Schubert, Murray Perahia, Radu Lupu
  • ‘Five Circles’ – Vangelis
  • ‘Loving The Alien’ – David Bowie
  • ‘Marwood Walks’ – David Dundas
  • ‘Ski Chase’ – John Barry
  • ‘Prophecies’ – Philip Glass

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