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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Getahead » Christopher Nolan tells Princeton grads to chase reality, not dreams

Christopher Nolan tells Princeton grads to chase reality, not dreams

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 08, 2015 07:12 IST
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Acclaimed film director, screenwriter and producer of films Inception, Interstellar and the Batman trilogy delivered an inspiring keynote address at the Princeton University's Class Day ceremony on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Christopher Nolan addresses students at Princeton University

Director Christopher Nolan finally explained the open-ending of Inception in his speech to Princeton graduates while telling them to chase their reality instead of dreams.

"In the great tradition of these speeches, generally someone says something along the lines of 'Chase your dreams,' but I don't want to tell you that because I don't believe that. I want you to chase your reality," he told students at Class Day, according to Hollywood Reporter.

"I feel that over time, we started to view reality as the poor cousin to our dreams, in a sense.

"... I want to make the case to you that our dreams, our virtual realities, these abstractions that we enjoy and surround ourselves with -- they are subsets of reality," he said.

Inception starred Leonardo DiCaprio as a thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets.

The only way he can distinguish a dream from reality is through a totem.

If it continues to spin, he is in a dream and if it stops, then he is in reality. 

Many fans were left wondering with the end of the film where DiCaprio puts the totem to spinning but is distracted by his children and leaves it to hug them.

The camera cuts to the totem but goes blank just when it starts to wobble slightly.

Nolan apologised to anyone who hadn't seen the movie and proceeded to explain his thought behind the ending. 

"The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio's character Cobb -- he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality.

"He didn't really care any more, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid. 

"The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black." 

The director said he usually skipped out of the theatre before people found out that he was there as they have a very strong reaction to the end.

"... there's a very, very strong reaction from the audience: usually a bit of a groan. 

"The point is, objectively, it matters to the audience in absolute terms: even though when I'm watching, it's fiction, a sort of virtual reality.

"But the question of whether that's a dream or whether it's real is the question I've been asked most about any of the films I've made.

"It matters to people because that's the point about reality. Reality matters."

Nolan, known for his work in The Dark Knight trilogy and Interstellar, also joked about Batman's stint at Princeton.

"The most important thing about Bruce Wayne -- yes, he attended Princeton, but he didn't graduate. So, as of tomorrow, you are all already better than Batman!," he told the graduates.

Nolan said problems like Racism, income inequality and warfare were encountered by his generation and they are a reality even today.

"The truth is, I think we failed to address a lot of the fundamentals -- possibly for a good reason.

"I think we went out into the world believing that if we could connect the world, if we could allow the free exchange of ideas across geographical boundaries, economic boundaries, if we could all talk, these problems would go away.

"Unfortunately, I think by now, we have to acknowledge that we were wrong, that's not the case. Communication is not everything," he said.

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