Inception and Jorge Luis Borges

Americas (English Edition), November-December 2010 | Go to article overview

Inception and Jorge Luis Borges


What does Leonardo Di Caprio have in common with the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges? You are probably right: nothing, zero, nil, zilch, nada. Nonetheless, Christopher Nolan's last film Inception (2010) does establish a certain link.

Jorge Luis Borges' influence on the movie Inception is unmistakable. In the opening scene and at the conclusion of the film, we see, for example, a physically young Leo Di Caprio having a bizarre conversation with his decrepil old alter ego. As it turns out, Borges' short story The Other, is remarkably similar.

Christopher Nolan, the 39-year-old director of Memento (2000), has publicly confirmed his admiration for Borges.

According to Nolan, his recent work was inspired by two of Jorge Luis Borges' most celebrated works of fiction: The Circular Ruins and The Secret Miracle.

Inception was not the first science fiction movie influenced by Borges' writings, either. The Wachowski brother's film The Matrix (1999) is another example of the peculiar world imagined by the famous Latin American writer. The real world conceived as an "illusion" (the conceptual idea behind of this movie), was inspired by one of Borges' short stories called Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis, Tertius.

Borges' poetry also inspired Jean-Luc Godard's science fiction movie Alphaville 1969). In this film, Alpha 60 (the computer that rules Alphaville) in its final moments quotes some memorable lines from one of Borges's poems: Time is a river that sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that mangles me, but I am the tiger; it is a tire that consumes me, but I am the fire. …

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