Dunkirk 70mm screenings are ‘virtual reality without the goggles’

In our exclusive video, Dunkirk Director Christopher Nolan says that "70mm is the most incredible way to tell a large-scale story"

Christopher Nolan has made a number of heavy calibre directorial decisions with his new second World War epic Dunkirk – the format of the film being chief among them.

The film is being screened in cinemas across the country but just one screening will be shown in 70mm. Nolan shot the entire film on the large-format stock.

In our exclusive video, Nolan says that “70mm is the most incredible way to tell a large-scale story. The audience really gets the benefit of that large canvas, that depth of colour, that heightened resolution. It really becomes virtual reality without the goggles.”

The film is now being shown in 70mm in the IFI, Dublin. It's also available in Imax digital at Cineworld in Dublin.


Nolan is well known as being a fan of traditional film-making techniques. There is little CGI in the film, with Nolan instead shooting on location with an actual battleship lumbering in the sea while real aircraft strafed his acting talent from above.

He’s also, unsurprisingly, an advocate of the old-school cinema experience. “You have to go into a theatre to experience it. You have to be there with a crowd of people with a huge screen in front of you and really feel like what it would have been like to have been involved with the events of Dunkirk,” he says.

For those who might think the plot somewhat predictable, he’s also got a well polished pitch. There are “400,000 men trapped on a beach” he points out, and “the fact that this story does not end in either their surrender or annihilation is what makes it one of the greatest stories in human history”.