Joyeus Noel (2005) [FR] [ENG hardsub]

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Genre: War / Drama

Starring Diane Kruger, Benno Furmann, Guillaume Canet, Gary Lewis, Daniel Bruhl, Lucas Belvaux, Bernard Le Coq and Ian Richardson. Directed and written by Christian Carion. Produced by Christophe Rossignon. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Drama. French-, German- and English-language; subtitled. Rated PG-13 for some war violence and brief sexuality. Running time: 115 mi

One of the most mythologized war stories of all time gets a profoundly earthbound, humanistic treatment in writer/director Christian Carion's Oscar-nominated "Joyeux Noel," a fictionalized account of the factual 1914 Christmas truce whereupon Scottish, French and German soldiers fraternized, caroled and played battlefield soccer.

It's fortunate that the backdrop is World War I: Less overtly principled than World War II, it was also a conflict whose divisions ran more along class lines than borders. As such, it's easy to sympathize with the common enlisted men whom Carion places in the path of their superiors' ambitions -- an eager pair of Scottish brothers (Steven Robertson and Robin Laing) and their parish priest (Gary Lewis), a German opera singer (Benno Furrman) and his Danish lover (Diane Kruger), a French lieutenant (Guillaume Canet) with an aversion to combat and a stern young German field commander (Daniel Bruhl) who happens also to be Jewish. And yet Carion doesn't play up the story's magnanimity -- this is no museum piece, no dusty homage to the nobility of a bygone generation of warriors. These are, by and large, average men, put upon and faced with trials that are, for all intents and purposes, no different than those which might be faced by any number of present-day soldiers throughout the globe. Given the current state of affairs in the world, it may seem a bit naïve of Carion to even attempt drawing any modern-day parallels -- things are clearly not what they once were. The very thought of battlefield honor today seems absurd in the extreme. But this, too, may be Carion's message -- that honor and decency need not wait for the negotiations of politicians and bureaucrats; in the hands of right-minded men and women, they can emerge on the battlefield.

A truly powerful and must see film about the futility of war.

It depicts that whatever those in power would have us believe there are more similarities between various nationalities than differences.

Wonderful performances by many little known actors.

First class cinematography and other production values.

Illustrates that there can be no war if if if you have no enemy. It is impossible to kill a man with whom you have shared drinks and stories and grown to like

Wonderful music and singing as those who have suffered and fought each other in the trenches slowly gather to mark Christmas Eve by drinking and talking with each other, swapping addresses, singing Christmas carols common to all three nations (Germany, France and Scotland), burying frozen corpses and playing soccer together.

Not perfectly historically accurate but very close to an actual incident, A vivid illustration of the foolishness of war. While some have laid the blame at the feet it is clear that the primary blame lays with those who order others to go to war while safely enjoying the better of things far from the trenches

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