The brilliant Christopher Nolan, whose films include The Dark Knight, Inception and The Prestige, will curate a special BFI Southbank season of films inspired by his latest work Dunkirk.
Inspired by his latest film, the World War II epic Dunkirk, acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan presents a curated season at BFI Southbank running from July 1 to 31. The director of The Dark Knight Rises, Inception and The Prestige says people might expect a season of war films but instead he sees Dunkirk as a moment in history that’s all about survival.
Thus, the season focuses on films about fighting for life in the face of varying horrors and hardship. There’s an eclectic mix of genres too from Ridley Scott’s Alien to Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear to Jan de Bont’s Speed.
The season will include a 70mm screening of Nolan’s new film Dunkirk on July 13. Other films throughout the season will also benefit from 35mm or 70mm film screenings.
“You might expect a season of films leading up to a screening of Dunkirk to be a selection of war movies. But I chose to approach Dunkirk more as survival story than war film. One look at James Jones’ essay on ‘Phony War Films’ (in which he takes down several of my old favourites) immediately shows you the perils of taking on real-life combat in a dramatic motion picture.
“In Jones’ estimation All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone, 1930) said it first and best: war dehumanises. Revisiting that masterpiece it is hard to disagree that the intensity and horror have never been bettered. For me, the film demonstrates the power of resisting the convention of finding meaning and logic in individual fate. Our season explores the mechanics and uses of suspense to modulate an audience’s response to narrative.”
Other films in the season focus on visual storytelling such as the silent epics Stroheim’s Greed (1924) and Murnau’s Sunrise (1927) as well as later critically acclaimed masterpieces like The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo and Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire. Nolan also includes Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent in the season because he says the film’s portrayal of the downing of a plane directly influenced sequences in Dunkirk.