Personal family story dominates the big screen, as Sam Mendes’ 1917 sweeps BAFTAs

UK Today Live

News / Entertainment / Nero Vodka

Sir Sam Mendes’ WWI epic has dominated the field at this year’s BAFTAs, as 1917 won 7 of the 9 awards for which it was considered. The film, which follows the journey of two young soldiers as they face the horrors of war on a mission to save thousands of unsuspecting soldiers from certain death, has been lauded as one of the best war films ever made, and has impressed audiences and critics alike. 

Like many successful films, 1917 was based on a true story. What sets this film apart, however, is that the true story was taken from the tales of Sam Mendes’ own grandfather. As a result, the attention to detail is exceptional, and Mendes insisted on a one-shot format for the entire film, meaning that the audience witness the journey unfold in real time, and are privy to every second of raw emotion experienced by the young heroes. 

The intimate and no-holds barred depiction of one of the Mendes family’s most highly regarded and revered stories has captivated audiences everywhere, and shows the power that individual, real life personal stories can hold. However, in an era of film that has arguably been defined by CGI masterpieces and action-packed spectacles like the Marvel Universe, should we be surprised that 1917 has proved so successful?

Rutger Bruining, CEO of professional biography-writing service StoryTerrace, doesn’t think so. As the creator of a company that has documented the life stories of thousands of people, Rutger understands the true power of personal, real-life stories, and emphasises the value in having a platform from which to share them: 

“The success of 1917 at the BAFTAs was wonderful to see, and did not come as a surprise to me and the team at StoryTerrace. Having brought to life the stories of thousands of people, we have been fortunate enough to get an inside look into many incredible lives, and time and again we are amazed at the unbelievable journeys lived by everyday people. 

Sam Mendes’ grandfather was clearly one such person who had lived an unbelievable life and had many tales to tell. In displaying his grandfather’s tales on the big screen, Sam Mendes has showcased the true power of our personal life stories, and the impact that they can have on those around us. I believe that the BAFTA results are merely a sign of things to come, and I believe similar results will be reflected at the Oscars later this week. 

Now that 1917 and other films based on personal storytelling such as Joker are proving to be so successful in mainstream cinema, it is my hope that more people will be encouraged to share their own life stories with their friends and family. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our work at StoryTerrace, it’s that everybody’s life is interesting – you simply have to ask the right questions and take the time to listen.” 

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