The German epic by Edward Berger, All Quiet On The Western Front has already been loved by the fans and praised by the critics. But it topped expectations when announced as the winner in seven categories at BAFTA. That is something special, something magical.
Let’s talk about the record for a second. To date, the non-English film with the most awards was a creation by Tornatore, Cinema Paradiso. It had 5 awards in its bag. But the German epic excels with seven under their belt now.
Now, what makes this movie so special? The anti-war German movie doesn’t really work with something that hasn’t been touched. But it excels at showing the life-and-death aspect of war.
As Truffaut says, “there’s no such thing as an anti-war film,”. It is indeed very hard to show the anti-war aspect, it is very hard to draw sympathy and empathy from the audience. It has been tried many a time. From Saving Private Ryan to 1917 (in that sense Dunkirk is different) directors tried to explore this genre but very few ticked the box. And All Quiet On Western Front comes in that group.
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Though in various movies, you can see and understand the brutality of the war. But as soon as you are injected with the romantic notion and honor of war, the train of anti-war derails. We must not doubt the importance of war in history but we shall question the aspects and the manners of war. This question is something that makes a movie anti-war.
If a movie can break the romanticism regarding war if a movie can destroy all the monuments of pseudo-honor and bravery, that makes a movie anti-war. The anti-war philosophy is not something that goes against war, which is scared of it. It is something that questions the philosophy and principles of war.
And All Quiet On Western Front does all of these. From the opening scene, the war is true, the battle is real, and the war is destructive. This shows that the soldiers are nothing but pawns. Their lives are nothing but a gamble.
It doesn’t immortalize the pseudo aspects but it mirrors the reality. And that’s why it establishes itself as one great anti-war movie. It shows how youths faced the reality of war, overcoming their imagination and Romanticism.
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