Monday, June 29, 2009

Joyuex Noel- War and Peace

This is a great adaptation of the true events that occured on Christmas Eve during World War I along the front lines of Europe, where enemies called an unofficial cease fire in honor of the holiday.

It is a well done effort by French writer/director Christian Carion. There are not many well known actors in this film other that the romantic leads played by Diane Kruger, who you may know as Abigail Chase of the National Treasure film franchise and Benno Furman a talented actor, who like Kruger, was born in Germany.

Though Furman has done mostly foreign films, he did star in a rather interesting movie with Heath Ledger called " The Order" or as I like to call it, " A Knight's Tale 2", because it has three of the principle actors from Brian Hegleland's film in it, Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon and Mark Addy.

Though the characters played by Kruger and Furman are more or less fictitious, they are for the sake of this story the catalyst for the unexpected truce. Both are opera singers, Furman a drafted private in the German army, and Kruger his love come to entertain the men on Christmas Eve.

Music ends up becoming the universal language and bond of humanity that brings the opposing sides together on the holiest of nights.

The story and the true events that it is based upon, are enough to make this film interesting, but what makes this even more endearing are the little details and re-occuring gimmicks and gags.
Pay close attention to the cat (Felix) and the French Lieutenant's aide de comp Ponchel and his alarm clock. There are a bunch of comical and poignant references strewn about the story line, which add just the right amount of comic relief when needed, and also add a bit of irony towards the end when consequences are met in the light of post truce realities.

Overall, it is a very entertaining and introspective look into warfare and how civilized men deal with it. And how propaganda is raised in order to justify the killing of other races. And the icing on the cake is the musical score, which is very chilling and at the same time uplifting!

No real extras on the DVD, other than a post production interview with the director, but for the true film buff and collector, I think is a film you will watch again and again.


  1. Another movie I need to see. Well written piece on one of my favorites..Gilliam

  2. FWIW, I did a Google Blog search on Film Appreciation, and your blog came up as the 10th entry, then tried Terry Gilliam and you came up #12. Those are just the results for the last day, so it will probably move down a little tomorrow and the next day, but still, your blog's on Google, dude :)