Monday, January 30, 2023

All Quiet on the Western Front--the German remake

War movies have usually been avoided.  Many of them glorify war or appeal to machoism.  One that I felt made  a point was "Saving Private Ryan"().  The point that hit me was how very random death could be- merely putting up your head could be the end of your war.  It is mostly the young who die and it is mostly the older who decides whether or not to go to war and how to go about it.  

Germany had in my youth the reputation of a warring nation bent on conquering lesser nations.  A bit unfair and they now deal with guilt while other western powers expect them to carry their weight in defending western values.  Losers in two global wars they have learned how pointless wars can be.  The victorious western nations by now should have learned to be fair to the losers.

"All Quiet on the Western Front" (2022) depicts the excitement when one group of four young men are stirred thinking of the glory and the ease of battle to feelings of despair while older men plot how they can subdue another group of older men.

The four men anticipating a quick trip to Paris were quickly disillusioned.  The viewer is shown military leaders and negotiators .  After awhile we become conscious that the Germans are not doing too well, but the the military leaders are proud men who refused to accept defeat while planning to recruit another group of naive young men coming of age.  The terms being offered were very harsh and even insulting.  Finally a defeat was obvious and leaders accepted the humiliation.  It was to go in effect on November 11th.  In the meantime some German commanders want to carry on the battle while the soldiers

Some scenes I remember.  Two of the soldiers steal a goose for a meal.  The last time did't work out so good.   Another playing with a beetle kept in matchbox. Tanks and flame throwers were new weapons heralding future horrors

This is a true block buster and required some very talented people to put it together.

Starting with a few contributors not nominated for an Oscar, but definitely noteworthy.

 Erich Maria Marque wrote the original novel in 1929 that was an early anti-war book that shocked many.  Adolf Hitler had it banned.  Part of his story depicted  soldiers having adjustment problems when returning home.

Daniel Bruhl, an executive producer, but also took an important role in the film.  He is the son of a German tv. director father and a Spanish teacher mother.  He is said to be fluent in German, Spanish, English, Portuguese, French and Catalan with at least three of them on display in films.  He was early on a singer in a band.  His acting film credits include  "Inglourious Basterds" (2009), "The Fifth Estate" (2013), "Rush" (2013), "Burnt" (2015), "Woman in Gold" (2015) and "The Zookeeper's Wife" (2017).  He has also been involved with three other film productions and one as a director, Splits his residence between Barcelona and Berlin where he has opened a restaurant offering Spanish items.

Sven Budelmann, the editor who started editing music videos and commercials.  He has gone on to earn 51 film credits.

Felix Kammerer played the lead character, Paul Baumer in his first lead role.  Previously had acted on stage and had one supporting film role.

Albrecht Schuch played Stanislaus Katczinsky.  He has won numerous acting awards and his film credits include "Berlin Alexanderplatz" (2020).

Devid Striesow played General Friedrichs.  An early film credit was for "The Counterfeiters" (2008), the first Austrian film to win the Oscar foreign film category.   Another film credit comes from heavily awarded film "Downfall" (2004).

Sebastian Hulk played Major Von Brixdorf.  His film credits include "Inglourious Basterds" (2009), "The White Ribbon" (2009), "War Horse" (2011), "Hansel and Gretel:  Witch Hunters" (2013), "The Red Sparrow" (2013), "The Book Thief" (2013) and "Homeland" (5 episodes 2015).

The names below are all nominated for awards for this years' Oscar celebration.  A lot of the people behind the scenes don't get much recognition for our enjoyment.  Hopefully you will see some of them either on stage or in the audience.

Makeup and hairstyling nomination   Heike Merkeer, Also with film credits including "Cloud Atlas" (2012), "A Hologram for the King" (2018), "55 Steps" (2017), "The Girl in the Spider's Web" (2018) and "Crazy Rich Asians" (2018).  Linda Eisenhamerova with film credits that include "Snowpiercer" (2013).

Volker Bartelmann was nominated for best original music score.  His film credits include "Hotel Mumbai" (2019), "Summerland" (2020), "Lion" (2020) and "Against the Ice" (2022).  He has recently started recording his piano music.

Best Sound  nominations were for:  Frank Kruse with film credits including "Cloud Atlas" (2012), "Rush" 2013), "A Hologram for the King" (2016) and Markus Stemler with credits for "Cloud Atlas" (2012),"Rush" (2013) and  Lars Ginzel  with credits  "Cloud Atlas: (2012) "The Cave" 2019) "The Disciple" (2020) and Stefan Korte with credit for"Rush" (2013) and Viktor Prasil with 38 film credits

Visual Effects  nominations for Viktor Muller with film credits include   "The Talented Mr.Ripley" (1999), "Inglorious Basterds" (2009), "Snowpiercer" (2013)"The Walk" (2015) and "The Zookeeper's Wife" (2017).  and Markus Frank:  "The Book Thief" (2013),"A Hologram for the King" (2016)and Kamil Jaffar  with credits "Snowpiercer" (2013), "Child 44" (2015)and Frank Petzold with 19 film credits.

Edward Berger is nominated for best screen adaptation, but was also the director and a producer.  He has 22 director credits, 14 writing credits.  He produced 10 episodes and directed 3 episodes of "Your Honor" (2020)  and Lesley Paterson with only her second scrip  with.Ian Stokell had been a managing editor for a Washington Post online business and technology newsi

Cinematography nominee James Friend  "Your Honor" (2020) studied cinematography at the London Film School, a certified electrician

Best Production Design  Christian M. Goldbeck  with credit for "The Reader" (2018).    Ernestine Hipper did production design for "Tar" (2022), another Oscar nominated film.

To top it all the film is nominated for the Best Picture which is awarded to the producer, Malte Grunert.  This is his second Oscar nomination for best foreign film, the previous  film, "Land of Mine" (2015).

If you haven't  already realized that war is a foolish waste of time this film will steer you in that direction.

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