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  Entertainment   Hollywood  01 Mar 2018  Dunkirk: 1 story, 2 films and 14 Oscar nominations

Dunkirk: 1 story, 2 films and 14 Oscar nominations

Published : Mar 1, 2018, 6:24 am IST
Updated : Mar 1, 2018, 6:24 am IST

No war movie gets a free pass from the history scholars, of course, and experts have found faults with the accuracy of both movies.

A scene from the movie Dunkrik
 A scene from the movie Dunkrik

Los angeles: With the cream of the British Army cornered by a lightning German advance into northern France, Winston Churchill is told they will be lucky to get 30,000 men out alive.

Yet over nine days in May 1940, more than 10 times that number of British, French and Canadian troops are rescued, many plucked from the beaches by a flotilla of “little ships” crewed by civilian volunteers who set out from England.

The audacious rescue, codenamed Operation Dynamo but immortalised  as the “Miracle of Dunkirk,” is the subject of two movies vying for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk sees events through the Allies’ eyes as they face what looks like certain death in France, while Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour follows the travails of Britain’s newly-anointed Prime Minister back in London.

Despite its relentless high-octane score and action scenes, Dunkirk isn’t really a war film, according to Nolan, who told AFP he wanted to make a “survival story” unlike anything “seen or experienced before in a cinema.”

For Wright, Darkest Hour is a nuanced portrait of a man berated as the irresponsible and reckless architect of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign from the previous world war, who nevertheless stepped up to become a national hero.

“He kicked and he screamed and got a lot of things wrong in his career, and in his personal life, but one thing he got right was he resisted the tide of fascism, bigotry and hate,” the director told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

‘Historical truth’
The movies have amassed 14 Oscar nominations — eight for Dunkirk, including best film and directing, and six for Darkest Hour, of which best actor is looking like a shoo-in for Gary Oldman, who is unrecognisable as Churchill.

Historians, including the British novelist and journalist Michael Korda, have argued that Operation Dynamo should be seen as a military defeat with a happy ending, rather than something to be jingoistic about.

Churchill himself echoed the sentiment in a lesser-known section of his famous “we shall fight them on the beaches” speech on the last day of the operation on June 4, 1940.

“We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations,” he said.

No war movie gets a free pass from the history scholars, of course, and experts have found faults with the accuracy of both movies.

“The German army scarcely interfered with the evacuation. There was no ground fighting in the town or port, so Nolan’s opening scene is spurious,” huffed British journalist and historian Max Hastings in The New York Review of Books.

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