In what is likely to be a bumper awards season for Netflix, All Quiet on the Western Front took home the BAFTA for ‘Best Film’ at the 76th annual edition of the awards.
Up against The Banshees of Inisherin, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, the fantastical A24 classic Everything Everywhere All At Once and TÁR, All Quiet on the Western Front won out and has sealed its place in the pantheon of cinema for decades to come.
It was a bumper night for all those involved with the movie taking home an armful of gongs, including ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ and ‘Best Original Score’. However, taking home the night’s biggest prize was described as “an honour” by director Edward Berger, who also picked up the ‘Best Director’ award.
Loyal to the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated novel, Berger’s film tells the story of a teenage boy who enlists in the Imperial German Army alongside his school friends, buzzing with exuberance like the fresh-faced protagonists of Bernhard Wicki’s The Bridge. Though, as the reality of war sets in and the constructed fantasy quickly dissipates, the friends find themselves stuck in the brutality of one of history’s most violent conflicts.
Billed, like all war films, as an immersive drama riddled with bloodshed, All Quiet on the Western Front sets itself apart from its cinematic kin by taking more creative license from the industry’s finest horror films. Now, it will be seen as one of the best movies of its generation.
During a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Berger explained why the remake was essential: “Well, it is the first German adaptation of the book, and that was a big reason for me to do it. I watch a lot of American and English films, as we all do, and occasionally there is a war movie or even an anti-war movie among them. And I find them extremely entertaining. But I feel they never show my perspective, the perspective I have as a German.”
The director added: “Not that of America, that saved Europe from fascism, or England, which was attacked and drawn into a war against their will, whose soldiers returned home, certainly traumatized and psychologically broken, but celebrated as heroes, [where] the war is an event that enters the national psyche as something that the society is in part proud of. For us, it’s the exact opposite. In our national psyche, there is nothing but guilt, horror, terror and destruction.”
See the startling trailer for All Quiet on the Western Front below.