Sam Mende’s new film 1917 is an awards favourite, but its blocking is the real reason we wanted to discuss it. In this episode, Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney is joined by Associate Editor Brett Pardy and special guest Rough Cut Managing Editor Debbie Zhou to talk about how Mendes’ theatre directing influences the film, the different ways he’s addressed war on film, Dunkirk’s ticking clock score, how awards season distorts film’s appraisals, and why 1917 is this year’s Lean on Pete.
In the wake of a strategic German retreat during World War I, two Lance Corporals — the wet-behind-the-ears Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and the more cautious, and experienced Schofield (George MacKay) — must deliver a message to the front line in the next few hours to prevent a massacre. The film unfolds in two hours of real time to keep us as tense as our heroes are. Mendes previously turned to war as a subject in 2005’s Jarhead. While both films have glorious cinematography by Roger Deakins, they differ dramatically in their approach to character. Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx star as Marines struggling with boredom and aggression in the Gulf War.
Show notes and Recommended Reading
- Join Seventh Row’s Book Club to receive four Seventh Row ebooks delivered to your inbox every year + our most recent book
- Listen to our podcasts on other Best Picture nominees Marriage Story and Little Women
- Interested in why period pieces speak to our contemporary moment? Pre-order our next ebook on Céline Sciamma, featuring Portrait of a Lady on Fire
- Read Alex’s review of 1917
- Read Alex’s review of Sam Mendes’ production of King Lear
- And Alex also analyzed how the Lear production informed Mendes’ Spectre
- Watch how 1917 was filmed to appear to be one shot (video by Insider)
- Buy or preview our ebook on 2018’s 1917, Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete