Book - The Making of Dunkirk


With the film coming to DVD & Blu-ray next week, Ren Zelen gets engrossed in the work that goes into creating a cinematic masterpiece with the companion book The Making of Dunkirk, thanks to Titan Books...

Read Ren's article about the film itself here.

With Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk topping many of the ‘best film’ lists of 2017 and set to do another round of theatrical releases before Christmas, Titan Books offer a gorgeous, glossy, fascinating publication that is a marvellous companion piece to the DVD and Blu-ray release of the film.

The Making of Dunkirk, written by film scribe James Mottram with a foreword by Christopher Nolan, gives an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the conception, creation and execution of one of Nolan’s most ambitious and gripping film projects.

The film brought to life one of World War II’s most pivotal episodes - the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk – a turning point in the conflict and an event that saved hundreds of thousands of men from certain capture or death at the hands of encroaching enemy forces.

Nolan’s film proved to be an immersive cinematic experience. The viewer was placed alongside the soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk, inside the boats sailing to assist with the evacuation, and in the air trying to protect the men and ships from enemy gunfire.

The Making of Dunkirk reveals how Nolan brought this particular moment in World War II to the screen, using the innovative film-making techniques that gave the film such authenticity and realism. The book is divided into three sections: Part 1: Miracle of Deliverance, Part 2: Land Sea and Air, Part 3: The Ticking Clock, which in turn divide into eight chapters.

Nolan and his producer and wife Emma Thomas, begin by revealing the event which first set them on the road to making a film about Dunkirk, and then the book goes on to give a timeline of how the movie came about and how the disparate aspects came together. The timeline allows the reader to grasp the full sense of the challenges that ensued in bring the story to the screen.

Nolan and Thomas began quietly assembling a production team and scouting locations before they approached Warner Bros. with the prospect of making the movie. They chose an ensemble cast that purposefully included lesser known faces for key roles, such as Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Tom Glynn-Carney, Barry Keoghan, Jack Lowden and (unknown for acting) Harry Styles. They then grounded the drama by attracting seasoned and acclaimed actors Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and James D’Arcy.

The Making of Dunkirk is a substantial book containing never-seen-before photographs from the shoot, plus concept art, storyboards, designs and visuals. It features interviews with cast and crew describing their experiences when dealing with the logistics of filming various scenes, and also has input from collaborators such as cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, production designer Nathan Crowley, costume designer Jeffrey Kurland and Joshua Levine (the historical advisor). This serves to give an authoritative account of the many ideas and decisions which resulted in the final creation of the movie. The book will provide answers to the ‘how did they film that?’ questions that occurred to most viewers.

The Making of Dunkirk allows fans of Dunkirk, Chris Nolan's work or film in general, to understand the imagination, the challenges and the dedication involved in shooting such a complex and ambitious project, and offers some insight as to why Dunkirk is a masterpiece of film-making craft.

Copyright R.H. Zelen – ©RenZelen 2017 All rights reserved.

Follow Ren on Twitter @RenZelen

Image - Titan Books

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