How a German film blew away Oscar voters

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How a German film blew away Oscar voters

Due date All peace on the West Coast First, back in September, there was little thought that there would be a full competition for Oscar votes.

The film of the First World War in the German language comes from Netflix, which had a list of the most expensive films “marked” for the award of the Academy Award, from the winning model Oscar Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Bardo in the constellation Glass Onion: Secrets Revealed.

But while they have mostly fallen by the wayside, with one choice each, All quiet The top contenders for awards season have emerged as the Oscars frontrunners, with nine nods, including the best picture award.

“It really feels like a wave of happiness and luck has come to us,” said director Edward Berger. AFPdays before his film won seven awards at Britain’s BAFTAs, including best picture.

“We are very grateful for that… a German film!”

In fact, Berger’s film is the third adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel about young German soldiers facing the horrors of war – but the first in the author’s original language. .

If asked, the director “would have said no” to doing another English version.

Fortunately, the decision to change the script helped to expand Netflix’s growth in new global markets with information. recent titles such as the South Korean series. Squid Game and the Oscar-winning film Rome.

The film’s eventual cost of $20 million is small change for the streaming giant, but a huge amount in the German film industry.

“We wouldn’t have had the kind of budget you need to make this film five years ago,” Berger said.

The best picture Oscar nomination is the first for any film in the German language.

Creative license

Surprisingly, the picture has been found better outside the German world than at home, where it has been preserved by many researchers.

In particular, critics criticized Berger’s decision to depart from Remarque’s text, which – with 50 million copies sold worldwide, and the legacy of being banned by the Nazis – holds the status quo in Germany today.

Unlike the novel, the movie shows the peace talks of the armistice with the French. It has also removed a part where one of his heroes visits the house but cannot adjust to civilian life.

“I don’t follow too much… that’s part of the job of a writer – to observe, to criticize,” shrugged Berger.

“I felt licensed to make those changes” because “why do the same?” he added.

To bridge the “physical difference” between the reception of the film at home and abroad, Berger points to one of the dramatic scenes at the end of the film.

A main character is placed in the background – a moment that Berger expected to be sad and cruel, but it was not unexpected, because of the popularity of the story and the incomparable value of the war.

But at the world premiere of the film in Toronto last year, “the audience was very vocal,” he said.

“I was very surprised, because I didn’t plan this… In Germany, it didn’t happen,” said Berger.

“As Germans, we expect – in a German movie about war – you can’t have a hero. You can’t have people who succeed in the mission. You almost can’t live a soldier,” he said.

But compare, “in America, you’re used to the hero, you want them to do well, and you cling to the hope that your hero will change the world.”

‘Shame and responsibility and guilt’

In any case, Berger did not sign out of any sense of patriotic duty. Both the film and the original anti-war novel strongly oppose jingoism of any stripe.

“We wanted to make a German film – but we’re not making it for the country,” he said.

“I’m not a patriot. Germans have a difficult relationship with patriotism, or pride or respect, about their history or country. So I’m not in that business. “

Instead, filming in Germany offered “an external sign of reality” and a deep sense of “shame and responsibility and guilt” that many Germans feel about the history, Berger said.

Whatever happens at the Oscars on March 12, All quiet clearly left an indelible impression on the voters of the US-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

It’s seen as a contender for best international drama, a strong contender for best picture, and of its nine Oscar nominations one all time record for a foreign language film.

“We were surprised? Yes,” Berger said. “I mean, you can’t hope for something like that.”

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