Film Screening 1st November, 2006

Poster for Joyeux Noël

Joyeux Noël 

8:00 PM, 1st November, 2006

  • M
  • 116 mins
  • 2005
  • Christian Carion
  • Christian Carion
  • Benno Fürmann, Diane Kruger, Guillaume Canet, Danny Boon, Gary Lewis

Although this film was nominated for an Oscar (Frances entry for Best Foreign Film) it's perhaps too simple and straightforward a film - too Hollywood, too pass((eacute)) - to have stood much of a chance of winning. I don't mean this as an insult. It's a film I'd recommend to anyone who is still nervous about attending subtitled films (for one thing, a third of it is in English). It was bound to and did attract reviews with a faint sneer. Sometimes such reviews are justified. Not in this case. The film is moving to a courageous degree: it risks overdoing it, but I don't think it ever does.World War I was carnage on an unprecedented scale, but it also gave the world the first large-scale spontaneous outbreaks of peace. This is the story of the first and most spectacular of these: Christmas of 1914, when opposing forces within a grenade's toss of one another made an impromptu truce, climbed out of the trenches, shared rations, played soccer, and only with the greatest reluctance climbed back in again to resume fire. (Or pretend to.)Those responsible for the treasonous goodwill were duly punished, and peace was broken by brute force from above. That's the end of the film but not the end of the story. The soldiers' tendency to stop fighting one another took subtler forms and the High Commands of France, Germany and England had to keep using the same tactics in response for the next four years.