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Germans are right to be incensed by All Quiet on the Western Front: It paints them as the good guys

By Nicholas Barber

27 Feb 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

All Quiet on the Western Front has had a lot of success this awards season. Nonetheless, a writer for The Guardian argues certain scenes could inspire jingoism.

Having cleaned up at the Baftas last week, All Quiet on the Western Front is now one of the favourites to win best picture at the Oscars in a fortnight. That’s an exciting development for Edward Berger, who directed and co-wrote the film, but German critics may not be so thrilled.

As Philip Oltermann noted in the Guardian, reviewers from Berger’s homeland have slated his first world war epic, with one key objection being that it strays so far from the source novel by Erich Maria Remarque. “One wonders whether Berger has even read Remarque’s novel,” said Hubert Wetzel in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “If the characters in the film didn’t have the same names as those in the book, it would be difficult to find significant parallels between the two works.”

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