“Authenticity Was Key to Absolutely Everything”: ‘THR Presents’ Q&A With ‘All Quiet on The Western Front’ Team
Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, which follows a young German soldier during World War I, has been adapted before. But Edward Berger, who directed and co-wrote the newly-released Netflix film adaptation, thought that his background as a German-born filmmaker would give him a leg up against the past editions. “It informs the film, and hopefully in the end makes a very different film than the American or English version,” Berger said of his heritage during a recent THR Presents Live at EnergaCamerimage, powered by Vision Media. “I thought that might be interesting to share.”
Berger was joined onstage in Torun, Poland by cinematographer and frequent collaborator James Friend — the pair also recently worked on the miniseries Patrick Melrose — to discuss the making of the film, which is also Germany’s entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 2023 Oscars. “Authenticity was key to absolutely everything,” says Friend of the cinematography, which largely took place outside of Prague on a 53-day shooting schedule. “It was all about making it feel as real as humanly possible. Our approach was always dictated by the environment that we were in and what the characters were going through. And also just always going back to the book, go back to the source material that was very, very key for us.”
The director also noted that the timeliness of the film’s subject matter was unfortunate: “A big reason also why we thought it was a good time to make it three years ago was that we felt, you know, you had Trump in America, you had Brexit, you had right wing governments all over Europe being elected.”
“The discourse and language felt very different,” he added. “It reminded us of a time that we read in history books.”
This edition of THR Presents is sponsored by Netflix .