Posts Tagged ‘Volker Bertelmann’


February 28, 2023 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 1929 German-language novel Im Westen Nichts Neues – known in English as All Quiet on the Western Front – by Erich Maria Remarque is one of the most important anti-war novels ever written. It tells the semi-autobiographical story of Remarque’s own experiences fighting in the trenches of western Europe during World War I, and follows a young soldier named Paul Bäumer, who over the course of the book is transformed from an eager and enthusiastic patriot fighting for the glory of the vaterland, into a bitter, broken shell of a man, utterly devastated by the physical and mental anguish of war. It touches on several important themes, ranging from explorations of nationalism and blind patriotism, to the futility of war itself, especially the trench warfare of WWI where literally millions of soldiers, on both sides of the conflict, were slaughtered while trying to gain little more than a few yards of ground. The book was banned and burned in Nazi Germany, naturally, but has since become regarded as a modern classic, and is now one of the most revered pieces of German-language literature. Read more…

DOWNHILL – Volker Bertelmann

March 6, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Downhill is an English-language remake of the Swedish film Force Majeure, which was written and directed by Ruben Östlund and was nominated for a Golden Globe for best foreign language film. The remake, which is directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, stars Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Pete and Billie, a married American couple on a skiing vacation in Austria with their children. One day, while the family is having lunch at an outdoor restaurant, a controlled avalanche takes place on a nearby mountain; the snow comes perilously close to their table, to such an extent that Billie genuinely believes she is going to die. Pete, however, grabs his phone and runs away, apparently abandoning his family to save himself. Everyone survives, but this one incident proves to be the trigger for a different kind of avalanche – where simmering tensions in the marriage suddenly come roaring the surface. The film is a perfect blend of comedy and drama, and is anchored by winning performances by both Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus, who somehow manage to make the film’s potentially jarring tonal shifts seem natural. Read more…

LION – Dustin O’Halloran and Volker Bertelmann

January 30, 2017 3 comments

lionOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Director Garth Davis’s film Lion is a warm-hearted real life drama based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose, which stars Dev Patel as a young Indian-Australian man caught between two cultures. As a child in rural India, 5-year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and his older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) eke out a meager living, finding and selling rocks and cleaning trains. One day, Saroo accidentally finds himself stuck on a train bound for Calcutta; completely alone in a megalopolis of almost 15 million people, and with no way home, Saroo lives among the city’s homeless children until he is eventually taken in by an orphanage, who arrange for him to be adopted by an Australian couple, Sue and John Brierley (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Twenty years later, the adult Saroo has forgotten much of the detail about his childhood, but gradually becomes obsessed with finding his birth parents, spending all his time feverishly searching Google Earth, and alienating his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara). What emerges is a moving story about cultural identity, family, and the strength and dedication Saroo shows in trying to discover the truth about his past. Read more…