After Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), Sam Mendes is back in 2019-2020 with a more personal eighth feature film: 1917 (2019) starring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman. During a preview organized by the French website AlloCiné, the British author-director spoke about the genesis of his film on the First World War and the incredible single shot that composes it.
1917 : an incredible technical achievement by Sam Mendes
At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield and Blake are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers — Blake’s own brother among them.
With a filming in England and Scotland, a screenplay by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, an image by Roger Deakins, an editing by Lee Smith, an original sound track by Thomas Newman and a direction by Sam Mendes, 1917 is first a dive in the heart of the Great War inspired by the stories of the filmmaker’s own grandfather. It is then an incredible technical achievement. Indeed, as in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) or Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman (2014), it is through a bluffing recomposed one camera shot that the viewer follows in real time and on a day the crossing of enemy lines by two British soldiers in order to deliver a capital message. Finally, for the cast side, George MacKay (Captain Fantastic) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones), who embody these two military messengers, play by Mark Strong (Kick-Ass), Andrew Scott (Pride), Richard Madden (Medici: Masters of Florence), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) and Claire Duburcq.
Find out more in the video above.
To learn more:
- French release: 01/15/2020
- French distributor: Universal Pictures International France
- UK release: 12/04/2019
- USA release: 12/25/2019