Blog 2: Tradings Places in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front” ?

Throughout AQoTWF, there are scenes and characters who trade places with each other.
These are surely deliberately devices by the director to compare and contrast experiences and events.

 

TRADING PLACE 1.

There is a piovtal scene in AQoTWF, where a soldier hides in a trench as the enemy soldiers unknowingly jump over him.
He is helpless, his life is relying on the hope that his silence is unnoticeable in the loud , violent environment.

Note the framing of the shot, as the soldier looks up and out in fear.

Tradingplace2

An enemy soldier notices him, and lunges down into the trench, only to be met with a knife in the stomach.
It takes a considerable amount of time, but the enemy soldier dies – much to the horror of our soldier.

 

The enemy death is framed as below.  The director having made him ‘trade places’ with our solider. 
They are framed the same. Although each others enemy it shows that they both are a folly of war.

 

Tradingplaces3

 

Worth noting, the same framing occurs earlier on the film, with a soldier dies after attempting to go over the bunker. He slumps back down and into a similar framed shot as other soldiers.

Death1

 

 

TRADING PLACE 2.

 

Death3

”It’s a corpse, no matter who it is” ; so says the sergeant to his young soldiers who have just experienced their first death experience.
 It’s a hard fact of life, that the young soldiers finds offensive.  To them, the dying soldier was a friend. But to the sergant he is just a death.

Notice the framing above.

Right near the films end, the sergeant himself is now mortally wounded, and whilst in the hospital tent,is being looked after by Paul.
The framing is simliar. It is now Paul who is leaning over the dying soldier.

Death4

”Your not related are you ?” ask a hospital official.  ”No” Paul responds straight away.
Perhaps he too thought back to that earlier night when the sergant disregarded his friends as merely a statistic.  

 

TRADING PLACES 3

 

At the start of the film, the point of view through the school windows shows the large, and loud passing parade.
This is what the young students are seeing. The excitement, love and hope of the town.

 

School1

Right at the end of the film, Paul returns to his school, to tell the truth about war to the new students.
He is framed through the same windows as the start.

School2

But this time, there is no excitement behind him, no love and no hope. 

 

– Rhett Bartlett. 
Twitter: @dialmformovies

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