A fan-made video is reimagining writer-director Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk as a black-and-white silent film. Despite the pedigree of the filmmaker, there’s no question that Nolan’s Dunkirk defied the odds at the theaters domestically and worldwide to become one of the biggest surprises at the box office in 2017.
Released smack-dab in the middle of the summer moviegoing season – a season that’s generally reserved for superhero movies, action adventures and lighter popcorn fare – Dunkirk made more than $188 million domestically and $337 million overseas for a staggering global total of more than $525 million (making it the highest grossing WWII film ever at the worldwide box office). Better yet, the film attracted enough critical acclaim to make it one of the year’s earliest awards season contenders.
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Now, with the film – which chronicles the miracle rescue of more than 400,000 Allied soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, in 1940 – newly available on digital and Blu-ray, fans are getting creative with the footage of Nolan’s film, which was shot with sparse use of dialogue. One YouTube video creator, Like Stories of Old, clearly recognized the possibilities of Nolan’s unique filmmaking approach, and took the idea of minimal dialogue one step further and constructed an 8-minute version of Dunkirk as a black-and-white silent movie; a format that was abandoned a mere decade or so before the actual events of Dunkirk occurred between late May and early June in 1940.
Incorporating scenes from Dunkirk – including some spoiler footage – Like Tales of Old’s version of Dunkirk is a compelling piece of work from start to finish. Featuring the likes of the film’s ensemble cast members Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles, Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance, the presentation actually feels like a film from the era, as the film “print” looks used, the footage is sped up, title cards are used in place of dialogue and old-fashioned transition wipes are incorporated. In short, the film perfectly resembles a vintage newsreel that played before feature films back in the day, and comes complete with retro music to top off the experience.
It’s hard to say if Nolan will ever catch wind of this inspired short film, but if he did, he would surely be impressed. In a sense, it’s a meta version of the realism the filmmaker captured with Dunkirk, and in a sense, serves as a perfect companion piece to the film. While Nolan’s Dunkirk gives a first-person account of the harrowing plight on the soldiers as they were pinned on the beaches of Dunkirk, the black-and-white short film amazingly takes the same footage and presents it like footage journalists gathered at the scene and presented for people back home.
It’s been an amazing year for film in bringing the historical events surrounding Dunkirk to light (including Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Prime Minister Winston Churchill), and this short film inspired by Nolan’s work is a welcome addition.
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Source: Like Stories of Old