Nearly a decade before he was making movies about bats, Christopher Nolan was turning his attention to bugs. The filmmaker made a debut of sorts with 1997’s “Doodlebug,” a three-minute short filmed on 16mm and produced by his future wife and producing partner Emma Thomas, who’s worked with Nolan on each of his subsequent films.
“Doodlebug” is marked by a grainy, black-and-white aesthetic that’s of a piece with the spar narrative about a man (Jeremy Theobald) trying to squash an insect in his dingy apartment. It eventually gets recursive, with the bug in question being revealed as a miniature version of the man himself; in the end, they’re both of them dwarfed by an even larger version who appears behind them.
“Doodlebug” was preceded by two unreleased shorts, 1989’s “Tarantella” and 1995’s “Larceny.” Nolan followed it with “Following” (which likewise starred Theobald, who also had a cameo in “Batman Begins”) the next year and 2000’s “Memento,” which proved to be his breakthrough.