(photo: Kathy Palmer)
If you get the chance, do see Christopher Nolan’s DUNKIRK in Imax. I found it stunning, and the audience obviously thought so too. They clapped at the end. And before the show, the manager of the BFI Waterloo Imax cinema gave a short introduction. With arms outstretched he held up a 24-frame length of 70mm film, with 15 perforations to each Imax image: they run horizontally. That’s just one second of screen time ! He was keen on putting on more 15/70 presentations, a refreshing attitude. At present the digital Imax is 4K resolution on a smaller screen. And the adverts we had been forced to watch (too large in my opinion) were only 2K, he pointed out. There was glee in his voice: “Now you’re going to see 18K ! ”
As for the film, great acting from Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance and others. Very realistic sea and air action. Fantastic sound effects. Effective music… Do see it. I don’t think it will look much though on a small screen. However, another alternative is traditional 5 perf 70mm projection. Indeed, most of the sparse dialogue was done in 5 perf 65mm, with black bars top and bottom of the huge Imax screen. A similar method was used in Nolan’s previous movie INTERSTELLAR but that was 35mm anamorphic. This time it’s less distracting. Why not shoot dialogue in Imax ? Apparently the cameras are just too noisy, and Nolan doesn’t like adding dialogue afterwards. However, the close shots of pilots radioing were seen in full Imax: their mouths were covered and not visible !