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83 Ratings

Westfront 1918

Westfront 1918: Vier von der Infanterie

Directed by G.W. Pabst
Germany, 1930
Drama, Romance, War


The story concentrates on four German soldiers, sent to the front in the waning days of WWI. The futility of killing an enemy who is already dead spiritually, and of being killed for a cause that has for all intents and purposes been resolved, is brought home to the viewer with both barrels.

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Westfront 1918 Directed by G.W. Pabst
For an early talkie (and Pabst’s first), “Westfront” is notably fluid. The camera is highly mobile and the director makes skillful use of long takes — although portions of the brilliantly extended, existential battle sequences are filmed with a fixed camera.
May 23, 2018
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The movie does a signal job of conveying the fear, monotony, dirt, and exhaustion of the trenches. . . . The camera is stationary in the trenches but runs wobbling along the surface up top with the soldiers. You see the blackout at night and the whiteout in daytime, hear the unsettling clicks and whirs that fill the silences between blasts. The process takes its toll on the viewer, who has been accorded ninety-six grimly visceral minutes of the outward signs of war.
January 30, 2018
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You sense that Pabst could only have hit on such deep wells of visual resourcefulness—the vigor of his tracking shots; the vividness with which he shot faces; the generous place he reserved in his lighting for slim gradations of gray—as long as he was working in the service of a strong and deeply held moral idea.
January 03, 2017

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