German reboot of famous war novel to premiere at Toronto film festival
It is the first German cinematic treatment of German author Erich Maria Remarque’s epic 1928 novel, which depicts the devastation of World War I from the perspective of a German soldier and helped change the narrative around the glorification of war.
Berger said he wanted to share how the world wars his country started led to a collective generational scar on German society.
“I felt like it was a singular prospect that might be interesting for other countries to watch,” Berger said at the film’s premiere.
“I hope this helps to understand that nothing good can come from war. We all know that, but we seem to forget it at every turn.”
“All Quiet on the Western Front” is the story of Paul Baumer who, driven by a misplaced sense of patriotic duty, lies about his age to fight for German forces in World War I, only to discover the horrors of being in the first line.
There are two film adaptations of the book, the first by American director Lewis Milestone released in 1930 won an Oscar. A second by another American director, Delbert Mann, appeared in 1979.
German actor Albrecht Schuch, who plays Stanislaus Katczinsky’s character, said nothing he endured during the making of the film could compare to the suffering of soldiers on a battlefield. For all who fought, the war “led to their devastation for generations to come”, he said.
The filmmakers said when they started filming it was a time when the EU was in danger of collapsing, America saw the resurgence of right-wing populism and Britain began its journey to the bottom. Brexit. “It was a timely thing to say,” Berger explained.
“To remind us that nationalism or patriotism or the division of countries does not really lead to progress.”
(Reporting by Divya Rajagopal; Editing by Stephen Coates)
By Divya Rajagopal