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FilmStubs: Following (1998)

A young writer who follows strangers for material meets a thief who takes him under his wing. (R, 69 min.)


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

7:00 PM

The FilmStubs series is Free and made possible by a grant from Friends of the Library.
For more Springfield-Greene County Library events click here. Before he became a sensation with the twisty revenge story Memento, Christopher Nolan fashioned this low-budget, 16 mm black-and-white neonoir with comparable precision and cunning. Providing irrefutable evidence of Nolan’s directorial bravura, Following is the fragmented tale of an unemployed young writer who trails strangers through London, hoping that they will provide inspiration for his first novel. He gets more than he bargained for when one of his unwitting subjects leads him down a dark criminal path. With gritty aesthetics and a made-on-the-fly vibe (many shots were simply stolen on the streets, unbeknownst to passersby), Following is a mind- bending psychological journey that shows the remarkable beginnings of one of today’s most acclaimed filmmakers. [Criterion]

Starring: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell
Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre(s): Crime, Mystery, Thriller

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"Impressively acted by the unknown cast, and eerily shot in black and white, Nolan successfully creates his own distinctive cinematic world, leaving en route a trail of objects which may or may not have any meaning."

— Staff, Total Film

"Christopher Nolan's noirish thriller is an uncommonly polished and assured feature debut, highly clever textually and supremely accomplished technically. This ultra low-budget exercise marks the emergence of a significant directorial talent. [13 April 1999]"

— Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

"Following is a pitch-black crime story, but never forgets its gentler side. It is, at 70 minutes, a slim movie, but by the time it concludes in inevitable tragedy, Nolan's characters have accomplished something rare for an openly nihilistic work: sympathy. [10 Sep 1999]"

— Phoebe Flowers, Miami Herald

"Following is that rare debut in which a formidable creative personality seems to have sprung upon the scene fully developed. All of Nolan's abiding obsessions are in evidence: the boldly nonlinear chronology, the liquid sense of identity, the involuntary spasms of memory."

— Scott Foundas, Criterion

"Without being bombastic, Following takes itself damn seriously, and its relationship to Nolan's later movies is unmissable; it's a real treat to see the biggest studio director of today whittled down to novella-size. The movie is less "claustrophobic" for its lo-fi synths and black-and-white 16mm than for the perverse thrill you get from knowing its conceptualizer-in-chief is the guy walking (often, running) with the camera."

— Steve Macfarlane, The L Magazine