Milestones direction of the scene with paul and the

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Milestone’s direction of the scene with Paul and the French soldier describes howpointless the war is; further disproving the original idea that war is necessary for a man tobe valiant and courageous. After killing the French soldier, he cries, “If we threw awaythese rifles and these uniforms, you could be my brother.” He realized that the supposed“enemy” was just another human forced into the horror that is war. It’s something thatneither of them wanted, as Paul says that they both just wanted to stay alive until the warwas over. Experiencing death first-hand caused Paul to react in a different way than someof his other comrades. Typically, they just shoot their enemies from afar or even justwatch them die from shell attacks. However, Paul was forced into a close-combatsituation with the French enemy. He watched as a fellow human died due to his actions,
Baker - 4something he wasn’t prepared for. In actuality, it’s something none of the young soldierswere prepared for. Milestone made it a point to include the part of the scene where Paulgoes through the dead soldier’s belongings and discovers that he, like him, has a life backhome. In a fit, Paul vows to write to the dead soldier’s wife, as he thinks this is a way torepay the soldier he did not want to kill. In reality, there is no way for Paul to repay thissoldier, but he must think of something to keep himself sane. Justifying the death of theFrench soldier is not morally sound but there is nothing Paul can do. War makes soldiershelpless in the face of a burdened conscience. He frantically mutters, “I tell you I didn’twant to kill you. I tried to keep you alive.” Such mindless banter was common amongsoldiers that had guilty consciences. Another example of justification is when Katreassures Paul that “war is war” and that he shouldn’t feel bad about killing the Frenchsoldier, since it was his job as a German soldier. One unique way that Milestone exemplifies the reality of war is through the use ofsound. Since the quality of the movie wasn’t too great, as it was produced in 1930, theuse of sound could capture some of the film’s strongest themes. For instance, every battlescene makes use of true battle audio, like bullets whizzing by and the deafeningexplosions created by mortar strikes. In each scene, Milestone uses the combination ofthese sounds, plus the screams of soldiers, to depict a very confusing and fast-paced

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