6 June 1944. D-Day. The biggest land and sea operation in history: 256,000 men, 20,000 vehicles and 4,000 landing craft. On this pivotal moment in history when the outcome of the Second World War was at stake, much has been written, recounted, analyzed, examined, filmed and filmed again.
And yet, what if I told you the D-Day landings were only possible thanks to a socially-awkward, antimilitarist mathematician whose dream was to build an artificial brain? Far-fetched? Let’s add that this crazy dream, besides bringing a halt to Hitler’s plans, gave rise to modern computer science. The dreamer in question was Alan Turing and his field was the most fundamental branch of mathematics: logic. How could someone who lived in the realm of ideas have had such an impact on history and the world? The answer can be found at the end of a railway line on the outskirts of London, in a quiet little town by the name of Bletchley. It was here, during the Second World War, that a huge game of chess was played out, the aim of which was to crack the encoded communications of the German army. In this game which changed the course of history, the key player was an eccentric homosexual, a non-conformist mathematician and keen cross-country runner with a taste for self-mockery: Alan Turing.
The unlikely trajectory of this genius, entwined despite himself with world events, will allow us to take a fresh look at a whole section of the history of the Second World War, and discover that a close link exists between the Allied victory and the invention of the computer.
Direction: Denis van Waerebeke
Production: Les Films d'Ici
Available versions: French, English