More than 90 years ago, Erich Maria Remarque's novel "Im Westen des Neues" opened the eyes of the German population to the reality of the First World War. The book tells a ruthless account of what happened at the front and is still required reading in many German schools. Netflix has now remade the novel about the young soldier Paul Bäumer.
Director Edward Berger shows the horror of war, which since the Ukraine war has been more relevant than ever for the younger generation, just as clearly as it is described in the book. In an interview with "Moviepilot", the 52-year-old revealed which scene particularly moved him. It's about a scene that also plays a key role in the novel.
Bäumer is lying in a bomb crater with a French soldier he has just killed. "He experiences the death of another person up close," says director Berger. "When I asked my family at home if I should do this film, my daughter immediately stormed up to me and said, 'Absolutely! I just read the book in school and I get this scene in the crater can't get out of my head.'"
Scenes like this get under your skin - certainly one of the reasons why Berger found the shoot extremely tiring. "It took me at least half a year to digest this shooting. I was physically very exhausted," he said "Moviepilot". He also spoke of a certain insecurity about making a film about the First World War from a German point of view: "It was clear to me: If I tell this story from Germany, it can't be a heroic story because there's nothing for us to do something to be proud of. So my biggest fear was heroizing the characters or glorifying the plots."
In the stern interview, Berger had already said about the explicit depictions of violence in the film: "I wanted to draw the war as realistically as possible - although reality is certainly much more drastic. In any case, I didn't want to sugarcoat anything, because that would be for me Propaganda."