Christopher Nolan filmed 'Dunkirk' on the beaches of northern France because he wanted his movie to feel ''tactile''.

The 46-year-old movie-maker's new film has already been widely hailed by critics, and Christopher has explained some of his thinking behind his much-discussed latest effort.

He said: ''The tone of the film is really about immersion, it's really about first-person experience. There's very little dialogue in the film.

''The idea is you jump right in and you're almost a participant in what's going on. And so I wanted the clearest, most real, most tactile sensibility for everything in the film, including the visual effects. And so we sourced real planes, real boats.

''We shot in the real location. Several days, we found ourselves on the real beach watching the real little ships who'd actually taken part in the evacuation in 1940. They came back to Dunkirk.

''We had a group of the same boats, and they came and they took part in our re-staging of the evacuation.''

Despite the scale of the movie, 'Dunkirk' boasts an intimate feeling.

And Christopher was determined not to let special effects overshadow his storytelling.

He told NPR: ''The idea was that you don't depart from a very human scale of storytelling. You don't cut away to generals in rooms with maps kind of, you know, talking about the politics or the history or whatever.

''You just stick with what people at the time would have seen and experienced. And so what I wound up doing is fragmenting the story into three different story lines that braid together, and broadly speaking that's land, sea and air.

''So we really try to put you on that beach, we try to put you in the cockpit of that spitfire above the beach, we try to put you on a boat coming over to help with the evacuation. And the idea is that as the stories cross cut, we're building up a bigger picture of the events for the audience who doesn't understand or doesn't know the story.''