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A technical prodigy at the service of a survival tale during World War I, the 1917 film by Briton Sam Mendes has been surprisingly sweeping award season. The sensation produced by the single shot, an uncut sequence shot – a refined job of editing – is one of immediacy and tension: the camera follows two young men on a suicide mission through no-man’s-land and trenches. A story that combines emotion, historical recreation and spectacularity: ideal for the average voter of the Academy and also a tribute to Mendes’ grandfather, a veteran of this terrible war.

Surely the cinephile reader will remember previous examples, but there is no doubt that the walk of the soldiers James Apperson and Slim in the middle of a forest infested with German soldiers knew how to construct in the cinematographic imaginary, almost a century ago, an indelible iconography of the war representation in the screen. After a lengthy prologue full of preparations and excitement difficult to suppress, the soldiers played by John Garfield and Karl Dane in The Great Parade (1925), M.G.M. Directed by King Vidor, they face real war for the first time.

It is not what they imagined and heroism – the possibility of it happening, the strange silhouettes of its existence – is inevitably accompanied by destruction, death, amputation, horror. The young people walk and around them the platoon mates begin to fall like birds in a parade of hunters. The camera focuses on them, perfectly located in the center of the frame, apparently invisible to enemy bullets, but the depth of field allows one to guess that this privilege may be extinguished at any moment. There are many scenes from 1917, the most recent feature film by British director Sam Mendes, that recall that moment in Vidor’s (relatively) anti-war story, released midway between the two world conflagrations.

Duration: 119 min


IMDb: 8.3