|I want to make it perfectly clear that I will always go to bat for Christopher Nolan; why? He's earned it. I'm relaying this to you so you know my prejudices, and you know that I know I have them. This appears to be a simple poster; almost insultingly simple, even. Within its simplicity, however, we can find everything we need. Let's start with the obvious. We know that black, the dominant color of the poster, symbolizes death, there is the "bad death," being alive to things of this world and dead to things of the spiritual world, and then there is "good death," being alive to the things of the next world, the spirit, and being dead to the appetites in this world, materialism and those things that will perish. Next, is the color blue as being dominant. Blue is an exceptional symbol because it always "embodies" both its "negative"side and its "positive" side simultaneously: blue symbolizes sadness, suffering, sorrow and heartache, but it also symbolizes wisdom, because wisdom is the greatest of all human treasures, not just because it costs us the most to attain (no amount of silver or gold can purchase wisdom, only hardships) but also because, the wiser we become, the closer to God we become. If we depend upon Him in those same trials, we are rewarded in that He makes us to be more like Himself, which is what He always wanted for us. So, there is both wisdom, suffering. Then, we realize, it's not just the lettering that's blue, rather, it's an image of the beach and the sea where the action takes place, so we have the visual intersecting the verbal (the word DUNKIRK), meaning, that which took place there at a certain time, gave this place a new meaning. Originally, "Dunkirk" means "church in the dunes," and I am confident we will see this played out on multiple levels.|
Permit me to seemingly go off topic for a moment. In Heidegger's concept of existence, each person occupies a certain place at a specific time. I am who I am because I am sitting at my desk, at this exact moment, typing these words, and no one else can claim that they are me, because I am the one carrying out this action at this specific marker in history (it's like the latitude and longitude of a globe, but with a place and a time). This is what is going to happen with Dunkirk, the area in Northern France: it's no longer going to be just the "church in the dunes," rather, it's also going to become synonymous with the events that happened there, at that specific beach, at that specific time. So, too, will those men and women who were there, the "meaning" of the events, the evacuations, the heroism, the deeds, the deaths, the odds and the fear all coming to mean something different to each of them who experienced it first hand, but also contributing a shared meaning of the events taking place there on the beaches of Dunkirk that we, too, in the audience will share with them.
So, what does the poster say to us?
There is death, but from death, comes life far greater, richer and more abundant than what we can possibly imagine.
this one, from Variety, hails the film as a "masterpiece," and I'm sure I will be quick to second that).
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Here is the second trailer released for Dunkirk: