Features and Columns · Movies

Rebirth and Resurrection in Christopher Nolan Films

All we’re saying is that if you come back from the dead, it’s very important to shout “the prestige!”
Interstellar Christopher Nolan Resurrection
Paramount Pictures
By  · Published on March 2nd, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores themes of resurrection and rebirth in the movies of Christopher Nolan.


The vast majority (or at least, the loudest contingent) of video essay content tends to look the same. Namely, montage accompanied by voice-over narration. And hey, look, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it is worthwhile, I find, to switch things up every now and then and expand your horizons with respect to what a video essay can be.

We’ve featured non-verbal montage-style video essays in the past. And what I continue to find striking (especially with today’s example) is the argumentative depth that can be conveyed simply through splicing shots together. (Maybe that Sergei Eisenstein guy was on to something after all.) Gestalt inference is a powerful thing. I suspect this is in part because putting things into concrete words can limit their meaning (that is the trade-off of specificity). And leaving things in a fuzzier more ambiguous state allows the viewer to bring their own opinions and experiences to the conversation.

To get a sense of what I mean, check out today’s video essay. Through clips spanning Christopher Nolan‘s filmography, the essay points out an enduring visual theme in the director’s work: resurrection. The essay makes its point through recurring images from Nolan’s movies, from the awakenings of long-sleeping astronauts to delicate vital sign checks to vaguer scenes of thwarted watery graves and fortuitous doorways.

I don’t immediately think of Nolan as a director interested in spiritual themes. But with a filmography riddled with wandering men hoping for redemption in one form or another, maybe we should have seen this coming.

Watch “Christopher Nolan: Resurrection”:


Who made this?

This video essay on themes of resurrection and rebirth in Christopher Nolan movies is hosted by Filmscalpel and edited by Jeroen Verschakelen. FIlmscalpel creates and curates video essays on the deeper meanings behind your favorite films. You can watch the other three videos in the series on Filmscalpel’s official website here. And you can follow their Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).