Original title: all quiet on the western front: How to talk about the pain of war?
Recently, a film of the same name based on a novel by German writer Erich Maria Remarque was released. This is the third time that all quiet on the western front has been adapted into a film. Previously, the film "all quiet on the western front" made in 1930 and 1979 was all American works, and this time the adaptation right was handed over to the Germans. In 1928, when remarque’s novels began to be serialized, the editor of the German newspaper Forsyth commented: "all quiet on the western front" is the first real monument of the unknown soldier. This unbiased novel is a monument stronger than stone and more lasting than ore. This monument is exciting, enriching people’s minds and showing the most horrible documentary images of war to later generations.
Boymer, a passionate German youth, devoted himself to the "World War I" with heroic ideals. When he was sent to the western front to participate in the war, he witnessed cruel hunger, blood and death … … The new film pays more attention to sensory impact, and projects the war landscape to the individual’s body in a short-sighted and miniaturized way. Boymer was deeply involved in the war for four years. The physical and mental collapse caused by the war and the intermittent indulgence of the war made the young soldiers stiff and lost their minds, leaving them in panic and crouching in the trench, waiting for the doomsday judgment. At the beginning of the film, there was no melodramatic fear of participating in the war. A cannon fire abruptly stuffed the war into the nerves of every recruit, and death came to the face. Distant mountains, jungles, and fog are all combinations of quotations. Numb-faced soldiers run on the battlefield, just like ghosts floating on the dead Yuan Ye. The color of the film is strong, with gray, white and black as the background color. Pale faces, dark scorched earth and dark red blood are the usual scenes. Mud is a recurring picture in the film. Fighting in the mud, crawling in the mud and trudging on the mud, all the soldiers are caught in the mud of war, their thoughts and feelings are deeply buried, and they have no power to pull them out. The cold, wet and sticky mud has eroded the feelings of the soldiers. All their rights are waiting in vain, waiting for vanity, and not wanting to struggle and resist. On the contrary, every sergeant is used to death, and only death can repair their fragility and end the pain that is difficult to talk about in war. Just as Jaden, with a knee injury, asked for his death quickly,Punch an artery with a spoon and commit suicide. The war scenes in hell, demonized sergeants, machine monsters that crush everything, concrete and slight dying pictures, and the breath of death in a wheezing way show the individual war experience in an all-round way, and realistically depict the battlefield peristalsis of the bottom sergeants. The picture of the film is dignified and slow, and the still water is deep, so that the war peddlers can see the products of the war and liquidate their guilt in the depths of their souls.
No matter how wonderful the story is, it will lose its vividness and freshness in repeated telling. The new version of "all quiet on the western front" did not experience aesthetic fatigue due to repeated shooting, precisely because it did not create beauty or stories, but only showed the war experience and pain. "The body is dead, the gods are spiritual, and the soul of the child is a ghost." War is sometimes advocated or boasted by fanatics. All quiet on the western front is an anti-hero and anti-war. It tells the truth about the destruction and exploitation of people by war. "For the sake of the emperor, God and the motherland", a group of young students were bewitched and went to the mud of war with heroic dreams. After a fire, youth was scorched and withered by the heat of guns, and the heat of faith could not resist the cold of death. The trenches were filled with corpses and residual limbs, and only the name tag proved that a person had been to the trenches and participated in the war. War destroys people not only by steel beasts like tanks, but also by time. During the four years of fighting on the western front, each battle can only advance hundreds of meters, so the report of the situation only says "all quiet on the western front", but under the black political lies, more than 3 million young people on the western front were killed.
The film writes the story of the hero Boymer from a civilian perspective. Before he could grow into a soldier, he lost his fighting ideal, his ability to love and hate, and his thinking ability, leaving only vanity. Instinctively "survival" became the highest criterion of his existence. In order to survive, he will shoot, fight and kill; Losing his thinking power means that he is completely stuffed and destroyed by the terror of war and becomes a living zombie of war. Stealing farmers’ food with Kate is the greatest happiness he can find after the war. Even if this epiphany life is relaxed, it will soon be strangled by the law of death. The death dilemma depicted in the film is a painful warning. Only when people face the painful death can they have a definite sense of reality and consciously resist the oppression of the bottom people by the evil war.
There is no artistic style in the new film, such as "catching butterflies" in 1930 and "copying larks" in 1979, which completely cuts off the poetic connection between war and art. In the face of the cruelty of war, art can’t transform it into transcendental aesthetic imagination, only to moan and reprimand feebly. Criticize the delay of the war decision-makers at the negotiating table, criticize the incompetent generals for the so-called humiliation, and drive the sergeants to launch the last round of attacks before the armistice, which completely cost the hero’s life. Boymer’s death was inevitable, but it was also unexpected. He struggled carefully but fell on the threshold of the armistice. The erection of the moment of death made the audience panic that the war had pulled away from the ruthlessness of life and aroused the fear of war.
The new version of "all quiet on the western front" does not dig deep into the story, but focuses on the little people who are aware of the great history, so that the audience can see the tears in the mirror image of the times and feel the misfortune of ordinary people abandoned by the war, and the anti-war consensus is more convincing. Historical experience should be precipitated in repeated reading, painful experience should be passed on continuously, and refusing to forget the idea of peace can have a solid rational cornerstone. All quiet on the western front, may there be no more wars in the world. (Author: Lei Jun, former professor of Basic Department of Military Economics College)