In 1914, World War I, the bloodiest war ever at that time in human history, was well under way. However on Christmas Eve, numerous sections of the Western Front called an informal, and unauthorized, truce where the various front-line soldiers of the conflict peacefully met each other in No Man's Land to share a precious pause in the carnage with a fleeting brotherhood. This film dramatizes one such section as the French, Scottish and German sides partake in the unique event, even though they are aware that their superiors will not tolerate its occurrence.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The character of the Male opera singer is based on that of German tenor Walter Kirchhoff (1879-1951), who travelled to the front in order to perform for the troops. His performance was met by cheers from the French lines, where upon he decided to climb on to no-mans-land to see who was cheering. See more »
Most of the Christmas Truces began as a mutual agreement by both sides to bury their dead. In absolutely no case was there any record of the incident being started by a singer moving out into No Man's Land carry a lit-up Christmas Tree. In many cases where Germans did venture into No Man's Land, they were shot by snipers. See more »
Child, upon these maps do heed This black stain to be effaced Omitting it, you would proceed Yet better it in red to trace Later, whatever may come to pass Promise there to go you must To fetch the children of Alsace Reaching out their arms to us May in our fondest France Hope's green saplings to branch And in you, dear child, flower Grow, grow, France awaits its hour.
To rid the map of every trace Of Germany and of the Hun We must exterminate that race We must not leave a single ...
[...] See more »
Thanks to a special showing as one of the events to mark the centenary of the Alliance Française in Canada's capital, I had the privilege of attending a North American premiere of this remarkable film just two days before today Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the U.S.) Both an appropriate theme and a cinematic Christmas gift come early. I think it may become my top film among several hundred seen this year, just as A Very Long Engagement - also set in the trenches of the First World War - captured my heart and critic's choice last December. Writer-director Christian Carion and all the actors do an amazing job in this multi-country Euro co-production. It should appeal not only to audiences across that continent but to film goers around the world. In addition to presenting a parable from real life relevant for any war-torn age, including our own I might add, Carion works wonders with front-line incidents great and small while drawing compelling individual character portraits from a top notch Scots, French and German cast, each speaking in their native language and accents. That goes for even relatively smaller roles: for example, that of the junior German officer at the front, Lieutenant Horstmayer (ironically a Jew who recalls a Paris honeymoon with his French-speaking wife), as played by the superb young actor Daniel Brühl (Goodbye Lenin, The Edukators). There is so much more that could be said about this remarkable and timely movie with a timeless message. Even had France not chosen Joyeux Nöel as its selection for the 2006 Oscar best foreign-language film category, I would herald it and rejoice in the advent of a new classic that is in another class altogether from the general run of "holiday movies". A story of harsh truths as well as transcendent art, it finds humanity and hope in the midst of battlefield horrors. Seasonal glad tidings indeed!
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