One of the most visually stunning movies, “Dunkirk,” was up for eight Oscars a few years ago. I went to see Dunkirk one hot night in August, and couldn’t halt my emotional response to the film. It was simply: Phenomenal. So well done. Christopher Nolan + Hoyte van Hoytema + Hans Zimmer + Fionn Whitehead = masterpiece.
The film was especially moving for me because my grandfather Nico was up the coast just weeks prior, fighting for the Netherlands (well, until Rotterdam was bombed). Opa was the same age as these boys, barely 23.
The war was really only beginning then, 26 May 1940, and the British soldiers were exhausted and stranded in France. I wanted to see what happened after they were evacuated, where they lived during War. What would their lives be for the next 5 horrid years? I always wonder. Even with fictionalized accounts of real life. It was an epic, yet intimate film.
One memorable moment, a shaken soldier cried to an older sailor, a civilian, “You’re weekend sailors; not the Navy! You should be at home!”
And the older man, Mr. Dawson, cried out in response, “There won’t be any home if we allow this slaughter across the channel. There’s no hiding from this!”
They came to realize small sacrifices multiplied by many would be the dividing line between winning and losing the War. Lessons of leadership, sacrifice, survival, and purposeful unity have remained.