“Digging Deeply”: Finding the backbone of the nation

The latest and popular online drama “Deep Dig” tells the story of an ancient cultural relic excavation that took place in the British countryside on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. At the moment when the epidemic causes the loss of life is commonplace, the theme of the film is worthy of recollection. After Brexit, the British society enthusiastically explored the origin of its own nation and its future direction. This web drama also has enlightening significance.

The film is adapted from the historical novel of the same name by John Preston. If you like blockbusters such as “Atonement” and “Darkest Hour”, you will also like “Deep Dig”. In the beautiful and detailed, open and lonely English countryside scene and the calm and slow narrative, the subtle emotions of the little people in the grand era are intertwined and memorable.

“Dig Deep” has the same name as the British movement to mobilize the whole people to “dig deep” to grow vegetables during World War II, but the story of “Deep Dig” is completely different.

Before the outbreak of World War II, the hostess of an English country estate hired Basil, an excavator from a non-technical background, and discovered the Anglo-Saxon (Anglo-Saxon) British history in the graves of her estate in the Middle Ages. Remains: The Sutton Hoo Treasure.

The first half of the film progresses slowly, and the second half of the plot mainly revolves around the ownership of these babies. Because this is based on a real story, the author was deeply moved when these actors showed the stories of real characters in history.

Between reality and fiction, we can glimpse some of the philosophy of life and the law of progress in history.

Middle Ages, not barbaric
After the Roman Empire collapsed in the British Isles in the 6th and 7th centuries, Great Britain was considered to be in the “dark age”: barbarism, decline, and disintegration. But the discovery of Suttonhu’s ship burial changed this traditional perception, because the unearthed artifacts included Viking-style helmets, gold coins from France, silver tableware from Byzantium, and gems from India or Sri Lanka. These archaeological discoveries prove that Britain at that time was not a barren land abandoned by civilization as everyone thought, but was still closely connected with the whole of Europe, the southern coast of the Mediterranean, and the wider world.

Therefore, in the film, the archaeology professor Dr. Hugh Bruning (real existence) of the British Museum shouted excitedly: “This will change everything… These people have complex belief systems and artistic achievements. The dark ages It is no longer dark.” This paragraph is the original words of Dr. Bruning himself during the exhibition at the British Museum.

At that “darkest moment” approaching World War II, this discovery was not as simple as history and archaeology, but was about the pride and identity of the British nation.

Helmet unearthed from “Sutton Hu Ship Burial”

Although this discovery has far-reaching significance to British national culture, after the heroine Edith (Edith Pretty) finally donated all the treasures and civilization relics discovered to the British Museum, the British Museum did not fulfill the promise and forgot. The farmer Basil who participated in the excavation of this amazing cultural relic site was given the title of “Outstanding Excavator Basil”. It wasn’t until recent years that Basil, who appeared to be a crude person, made his contribution to this excavation project gradually recognized by the British government.

Find the national backbone from the monuments
The film metaphors the frustration brought by the race against time through “digging” from the two levels of the macro-nationality and the micro-person.

At the macro level, Britain originally signed the “Munich Agreement” with Germany in 1938 to prevent the outbreak of the World War again. At the time, British Prime Minister Chamberlain said that this agreement will bring about an era of peace. However, World War II broke out in the second year-the treasure of Sutton Hu’s ship burial was ruled by the court to belong to Edith in August 1939. One month later, Britain declared war on Germany. The outbreak of World War II represented an entire generation of people’s efforts to pursue peace that ultimately failed. Human wisdom and ideals are powerless in the face of war, which brings a deep sense of frustration to mankind.

/ These archaeological discoveries prove that Britain at that time was not a barren land abandoned by civilization as everyone thought. /

At the personal level, human beings are powerless in the face of time and face setbacks at any time. Whether it’s Edith’s miss for her late husband, fear of the end of her life, or his son Robert’s anger and helplessness at the loss of a loved one, Basil is eager for the outside world to recognize her digging skills, or she is a female archaeologist. Peggy is hesitant about love, and the second male obsessed with photography wants to enlist as a pilot. They are essentially the same thing: the failure of mortals on different levels. Yes, each of us experiences failure every day.

However, just as the traces of any civilization will not fade away easily, neither will the British nation. British wartime Prime Minister Churchill will encourage the people: “We will fight on the beach, we will fight on the enemy’s landing point, we will fight on the fields and the streets, we will fight in the mountains. We will never surrender.” This sentence was only in 1940. The famous saying that will be born has become an excellent prophecy for Britain to remain resilient in the face of failure.

British film, beautiful style
“Deep Dig” gathered several very good British actors. Ralph Fiennes, who starred in “The English Patient”, plays Basil, the excavator. “British Opera Bone” Ralph proved that he can play both the handsome and handsome brother (“British Patient”) as well as the middle and lower class excavator. The eyes of Basil played by Ralph have a certain sense of trust.

“Deep Dig” stills

Ray Mulligan plays Edith, the hostess of the manor, who portrays Edith to flesh and blood, far from the image of the “beneficiary” who sponsored the excavation of cultural relics in the news. Edith in the movie, outside the excavation site, suffers from the pain of being seriously ill and the sadness of missing her deceased husband. She is very tough, loves to travel when she was young, and seems to have a close heart with ancient history. She is determined to dig this tomb, as if she has a certain historical mission. When her son saw her embarrassed, she could only hold back with tears. For this role, Rui was nominated for “British/Irish Actress of the Year” at the 41st London Film Critics Association Awards.

/ Accompanied by Basil, who has a timeless aura, Robert sees a world that still exists in the past. /

The photography of “Deep Dig” is also beautiful, and every screen can be screenshotted into a computer desktop or made into a postcard. Director Simon Stone used the ever-changing sky texture to smooth the transition of different narrative lines, and also added changes to the dialogue scene between the heroine Edith and the hero Basil. Compared to simple shots of the excavation site from overhead, these sky-filled images help the character to merge with the earth, creating a sense of time.

“Ship”: a symbol of life and death
The theme of the film is complex and profound, and it is worthy of careful interpretation. The author agrees with a comment on the Internet that the viewing of the film itself is a careful “digging” activity. If there is not enough archeological common sense and personal historical experience, the audience will not be able to fully understand the movie. After watching the movie, the author is more interested in learning about the history involved in the movie—Sutton Hu’s ship burial and the pictures of the exhibits on the official website of the British Museum.

At the end of the film, the little boy Robert nestled with his mother Edith, lying in the ruins of Sutton Hu’s boat burial, looking up at the stars. The boy recounted: the mother is the queen of this ship. She takes this ship to find the dead king. She looks back at the earth and sees that her son, who grew up many years later, becomes a space pilot. This also echoes the origin of the ship burial: the ship is a vehicle for ferrying the dead to the shore of the future generations, and the ship is also a way to heaven and the stars.

In the film, there is another plot that made the author cry. On the night when Edith’s lungs were severely ill, his son Robert wept and blamed himself: “When his father died, everyone said that you have to take care of your mother, but I failed (everyone). I couldn’t. Take care of her.” Basil the excavator squatted down and told Robert: “Each of us experiences failure every day. In the face of some things, no matter how hard we try, we can’t succeed.” This sentence can be said to point out the theme of the film. : Mankind faces the eternal failure of time.

Stills of “Deep Dig”, left: heroine Edith, right: hero Basil

Human beings face the “immortality” of time
Although mankind faces many frustrations, as the little boy Robert said in the film: “I am stronger than my mother thought.” His mother worried about the world after his death, but Robert really grew up and accepted his mother’s departure. The owner of this manor, and he is getting closer to Basil.

Accompanied by Basil, who has a timeless aura, Robert sees a world that still exists in the past. This kind of plot arrangement is not stingy as an inspiring placebo. As mortals, in the face of failure, setbacks and adversity, we can only believe in ourselves and make ourselves stronger. We cannot resist that we will eventually return to the dust. We can only enjoy the present life without regrets.

In addition, in the film, when the British Museum in London was unable to preserve the cultural relics in a state of preparation for war, and the ruins and treasures of the Sutton Hu’s boat burial were ruled by the court to belong to the manor, the hostess Edith cried and said, “I’m sorry. We will die and pass away.” She alluded to what to do with these treasures after her death. But Basil said: “I don’t agree. We have continued since the first handprint on the cave wall by mankind, and we have not died.” In such a story with a strong tragic color, the creator will The last bit of goodwill is left to humans who are trying to live forever.

Later, Edith donated all the treasures to the British Museum for free, a move that gave her “immortality”.