Presented at the Toronto International Film Festival, the German film “There’s Nothing New in the West” won over the public and the North American press present. The war movie, which will be released by Netflix in late October 2022, is described as brutal, visceral and pacifist.
In the west, nothing is new shows up in Toronto
It made its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, and it just might be one of Netflix’s greatest hits of autumn. Brutal war film but presented as “intimate” by its director Edward Berger, In the west, nothing is new has everything to create the event. It may seem surprising, but it is only the second adaptation in cinema format of the famous World War I novel by Erich Maria Remarque, after that of 1930 directed by Lewis Milestone. Moreover, it is the very first German adaptation of the work.
In the west, nothing is new tells the story of Paul Baümer, a 19-year-old German who, galvanized by patriotic and warlike speeches, voluntarily enlists in the German army and joins the fights of the First World War. He goes quickly, surrounded by his comrades, to discover the total horror of war.
The American press seduced
Presented in Toronto, Edward Berger’s film seems to have seduced the public, and the first feedback from the American press evokes an admirably produced, brutal film that succeeds in its pacifist discourse.
Thus, for Pete hammond of Deadline, In the west, nothing is new is a real success, while it was not won at all.
It’s hard to remake a film considered a classic (and still one of the best war films ever made, 92 years after its release), and also to rethink something that won the Best Picture Oscar. Edward Berger and his co-writers, Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell, and their fabulous team of technicians should be congratulated for their attempt, which turns out to be very successful.
A welcome pacifist message
Same story on the side of Screen dailywhich celebrates “a brutal and visceral adaptation of an almost century-old work“. The journalist Fionnuala Halligan evokes in these terms the success of In the west, nothing is newwhich does not opt for an original approach but assumes the classic form of the genre, and succeeds in its anti-war discourse.
Berger delivers the message of all war movies in the most frontal and direct way.
At the house of slashfilmthe film obtains the note of 9/10 and the way in which it shows the inequalities between the young men sent to the front to die there and the senior officers sheltered from the fire is highlighted. Also, that war always returns, implacably, always threatening the younger generations. This message from the film catches the attention of Sarah Bea Milner who concludes:
“In the West nothing new” wants us to be aware of this horrible and absolute truth – that we are only “bricks in the wall” (anonymous elements of a larger system, editor’s note) – so that a day, perhaps, we find a solution to finally interrupt this cycle definitively.
The film selected to represent Germany at the 2023 Oscars
Chosen by a jury of German film professionals from among nine proposals, In the west, nothing is new was presented to the Academy of Oscars to compete in the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It will have to convince for the first time to be one of the five films nominated for the 95th Academy Awards, to be held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on March 12, 2023. A pride for its director, who said :
Almost a hundred years ago, Erich Maria Remarque wrote a book that unfortunately is far more relevant today than one might have imagined. The fact that the jury chose him to participate in the race for the Oscars is an incredible honor. But the road will be long.