It is a little surprising that World War II would grab the cinematic fancy of Christopher Nolan, given the dystopias, demimondes and dreamscapes that have sprung from his fertile mind.
He has conjured underworlds peopled by tattooed amnesiacs and broody superheroes; he has plunged audiences into Escherian dreams within dreams within dreams; he has tested their grasp of wormholes and gravitational singularity. The yoke of reality never seemed to be his thing.
But with his new movie, “Dunkirk,” , Nolan ventures into the harsh world of a real war, which outwardly seems like well-worn terrain, except that he has never tackled anything like it before.
“It’s the first time I’ve taken on any kind of real subject matter, any kind of historical truth, and that was very daunting,” Nolan said in an interview at his sun-dappled offices on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. “I don’t want to sound too precious about it at all, but, you know, I wanted to do something that frightened me a bit.”
Nolan’s film is about the astounding rescue of 338,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, in 1940. Hemmed in by German forces, the Allies were trapped as German aircraft strafed and bombed the sands, with the only way out across the English Channel. Shallow waters prevented British destroyers from coming close to the beaches, so the call went out to private boat owners in England to help ferry the soldiers to safety.
A flotilla of hundreds of pleasure boats, barges, yachts, ferries and fishing boats set out, many piloted by civilians, and, under bombardment from the Luftwaffe, helped pull the rescue off. Had they not, the war could have taken a much different course.
“If Britain had surrendered, it effectively would have left Europe Nazified,” said Joshua Levine, a historian and author who worked closely with Nolan on the script. “Barbarism and intolerance would have become the natural order of things.”
The term “Dunkirk spirit” is carved into the British psyche and evokes people coming together in tough times. Yet as pivotal as the event itself was, it is often not well known in the United States, which did not enter the war until late 1941. Of the dozens of feature films made in recent decades about the war, none focused on Dunkirk (a British feature film about it was released in 1958).
導言後的第一段，作者連用三個現在完成式而非簡單過去式的句子介紹諾蘭的作品，凸顯其成就，但還是不寫出片名，重申現實題材（real subject matter）不是導演的菜。