From Dunkirk to Nor­mandy

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Zhang Hong­peng Edited by Mark Zuiderveld

With war films themed on the Evac­u­a­tion of Dunkirk and Nor­mandy Land­ings, movie­go­ers are queued up to see these cin­e­matic clas­sics.

Dunkirk (2017), di­rected by Christo­pher Nolan, hit the big screen in July 2017, retelling an iconic le­gends of World War II— the evac­u­a­tion of Dunkirk in 1940. The movie has so far gained box of­fice prof­its world­wide.

Many cam­paigns and bat­tles of World War II have been adapted into films, etch­ing the dev­as­tat­ing war in peo­ple's mem­ory and in­spir­ing peace.


In May 1940, nearly 400,000 Al­lied troops of the UK and France were en­cir­cled by the Nazis at Dunkirk, France, and con­fronted with death or fear of be­ing cap­tured. At this cru­cial junc­ture, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Churchill or­dered an evac­u­a­tion, code-named Oper­a­tion Dy­namo, in which over 300,000 suc­cess­fully es­caped.

This evac­u­a­tion has be­come a pop­u­lar mo­tif in many films. For ex­am­ple, the 1958 film Dunkirk re­pro­duced Oper­a­tion Dy­namo in the style of a doc­u­men­tary; the Bri­tish Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (BBC) also re­told the Dunkirk evac­u­a­tion in a semi-doc­u­men­tary way in 2004; and the film Atone­ment (2007) be­came fa­mous for its lengthy cin­e­matic take show­ing a panoramic view of Dunkirk's aban­doned beaches. Those films var­ied in their sto­ry­telling tech­niques. The cin­e­matic genius Christo­pher Nolan is a Bri­tish-amer­i­can di­rec­tor and screen­writer and one of the most suc­cess­fully ac­claimed film­mak­ers of the 21st cen­tury. With more so­phis­ti­cated film­mak­ing tech­niques in this year's Dunkirk (2017), Nolan has recre­ated the war epic genre.

Bat­tle of Bri­tain

In July 1940, Nazi Ger­many launched Oper­a­tion Sea Lion to at­tack con­voy fleets in the English Chan­nel and ports of Bri­tain's

south­ern beaches, lead­ing to a fu­ri­ous air bat­tle. Dur­ing this three-month pe­riod, Ger­many suf­fered from pi­lot and fighter ca­su­al­ties but didn't take con­trol of air supremacy over the United King­dom, let alone de­stroyed Bri­tish mil­i­tary forces on ground and sea. In Oc­to­ber 1940, Ger­many ceased its plan of in­vad­ing the United King­dom.

Bat­tle of Bri­tain was di­rected by Bri­tish di­rec­tor Guy Hamil­ton, who di­rected four James Bond films. Dur­ing pro­duc­tion, the team em­ployed hun­dreds of air­craft from sev­eral coun­tries and pro­fes­sional air­crews, and es­tab­lished a main­te­nance team to re­fit and re­pair them. It took more than three years to shoot the movie, bring­ing to life an epic air bat­tle.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

On the morn­ing of De­cem­ber 7, 1941, the Ja­panese Navy launched a sur­prise mil­i­tary strike against the United States naval base at Pearl Har­bor, trig­ger­ing the Pa­cific War and em­broil­ing the United States in World War II. Af­ter the at­tack, a Ja­panese te­leg­ra­pher sent a se­cret code—tora! Tora! Tora!—to the head­quar­ters of Ja­pan to in­form of the suc­cess­ful at­tack. This code be­came the 1970 film's ti­tle.

The film, jointly di­rected by Richard Fleis­cher, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku and star­ring Joseph Cot­ton, So Ya­ma­mura and Martin Bal­sam, retells the story of the at­tack on Pearl Har­bor, fo­cus­ing on diplo­matic and mil­i­tary ma­noeu­vres of the United States and Ja­pan be­fore the at­tack. Co-pro­duced by di­rec­tors from the US and Ja­pan, it fea­tures ex­changes and im­pacts from both Amer­i­can and Ja­panese cul­ture.


The Bat­tle of Stal­in­grad, a ma­jor bat­tle of WWII, lasted 199 days, from July 17, 1942 to Fe­bru­ary 2, 1943, and suc­cess­fully pre­vented the Ger­man ad­vance into the Soviet Union, which marked the turn­ing tide of the war in favour of the Al­lies. It is con­sid­ered as one of the blood­i­est bat­tles of WWII and in the his­tory of war­fare.

The film Stal­in­grad (2013), di­rected by Rus­sian di­rec­tor Fe­dor Bon­darchuk, tells a love story dur­ing the Bat­tle of Stal­in­grad from the view of the Soviet Army. It was the first Rus­sian movie pro­duced with IMAX 3D tech­nol­ogy, and the first Rus­sian lan­guage fea­ture film pro­duced us­ing the IMAX for­mat. Other films take on the Bat­tle of Stal­in­grad as its sub­ject, such as Stal­in­grad (1993) di­rected by Ger­man di­rec­tor Joseph Vils­maier and Enemy at the Gates (2001) di­rected by French di­rec­tor Jean-jac­ques An­naud and star­ring Jude Law and Ed Har­ris.

The Long­est Day

On June 6, 1944, nearly 3 mil­lion Al­lied troops crossed the English Chan­nel and landed on the beaches of Nor­mandy, France, cre­at­ing a sec­ond front in the Euro­pean theatre. The land­ings were the largest se­aborne in­va­sion in his­tory and played a sig­nif­i­cant role in World War II.

The Long­est Day (1962) de­scribes events that hap­pened on the first day of the land­ings from per­spec­tives of both Al­lied troops and the Ger­man army. It high­lights mil­i­tary tac­tics in war­fare and re­mains an out­stand­ing black-and-white film with panoramic cine­matog­ra­phy.

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