German anti-war epic ‘All Quiet on Western Front’ claims Oscars

German anti-war epic ‘All Quiet on Western Front’ claims Oscars

A wrenching German adaptation of the classic war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” clinched the Academy Award for best international feature Sunday with its timely anti-militarist message.

Nearly a century after the book by Erich Maria Remarque was published, the Netflix production capped a triumphant march through awards season with the Oscar win.

It was the first German-language film in Academy history to be up for best picture, among a surprise nine nominations.

The last German winner of best international feature (a category then known as best foreign language film) was “The Lives of Others” in 2007.

Swiss director Edward Berger, 52, thanked his star Felix Kammerer, an Austrian stage actor making his cinematic debut, saying: “Without you, none of us would be here.”

In “All Quiet”, World War I is viewed through the eyes of teenage German soldier Paul Baeumer (Kammerer), a volunteer on the Western front.


Once in the trenches, he quickly becomes aware of the absurdity of war and the patriotic brain-washing that got him there.

In one of several graphic battle scenes which drew comparisons with Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”, Baeumer recognises his enemy’s shared humanity.

A year into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, German Culture Minister Claudia Roth hailed Berger’s epic when it scooped seven of Britain’s BAFTA prizes last month as “unfortunately the right film at the right time”.

“It tackles the horrors of a war in the heart of Europe in a harrowing way… with unflinching images no one will easily forget,” she said.

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