“This is neither an accusation, nor a confession… and least of all an adventure.”
Those lines, a quote from German writer Erich Maria Remarque, open the first teaser trailer for Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front, the first-ever German-language adaptation of Remarque’s classic WWI novel.
The trailer, which you can check out exclusively below, is the first glimpse of Edward Berger’s film, which will have its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 12.
From the start, it is clear that this is not your typical war movie. Images of the fresh-faced soldiers excitingly marching to the front are cross-cut with shots of violence and terror in the trenches. True to its source material, there is no heroism and no grand adventure in the war depicted in All Quiet on the Western Front.
“I watch a lot of American and English films, as we all do, and occasionally there is a war movie or even an anti-war movie among them. And I find them extremely entertaining. But I feel they never show my perspective, the perspective I have as a German,” Berger told The Hollywood Reporter. “Not that of America, that saved Europe from Fascism, or England, which was attacked and drawn into a war against their will, whose soldiers returned home, certainly traumatized and psychologically broken, but celebrated as heroes, [where] the war is an event that enters the national psyche as something that the society is in part proud of. For us, it’s the exact opposite. In our national psyche, there is nothing by guilt, horror, terror and destruction.”
Lewis Milestone adapted Remarque’s 1928 novel, which he based on his own experiences in the trenches, into an English-language film, which won Oscars for best picture and best director in 1930. An Emmy-winning 1979 TV adaptation, also in English, starred Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine. Berger’s Netflix film is the first time the book has been adapted in its original German. Newcomer Felix Kammerer stars as front soldier Paul Bäumer, Albrecht Schuch (System Crasher) as his brother-in-arms Stanislaus Katczinsky. German star Daniel Brühl plays a German diplomat, negotiating Germany’s surrender in the war’s final days.
Germany has picked All Quiet on the Western Front to represent the country in the 2023 Oscar race in the Best International Feature category. After its TIFF premiere, the Netflix title will go out in select theaters in Germany from Sept. 29, in the U.K. from Oct. 14, and in the U.S., starting with an exclusive engagement in New York’s Paris Theater on Oct. 7 and expanding to select theaters from Oct. 14. All Quiet on the Western Front goes out on Netflix worldwide on Oct. 28.
Check out the exclusive trailer below.