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Général von Choltitz:
To think that barely two weeks ago Paris was the dream posting for a German soldier. The most docile, disciplined territory in the whole of Nazi Europe. An officer posted here knew he had left the war behind, and would want for nothing. The only battles to be fought here were to obtain the best table in a restaurant.
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"Diplomatie" (2014 release from France; 90 min.) is the big screen adaptation of the theatre play of the same name by Cyril Gely. (Disclaimer: I have not seen the theatre play.) The story takes place on the eve of the liberation of Paris in late August, 1944. The German commander-in-charge, General von Choltitz, has orders to destroy all of the main landmarks of Paris (Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame cathedral, etc.). Enter French diplomat Raoul Nordling, who tries talking von Choltitz out of implementing the orders from Berlin. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Several comments: this movie is directed by none other than legendary German film maker Volker Schlöndorff, yes he of "The Tin Drum" from the late 1970s. Who knew he was still around and making movies? Second, while on some occasions there are scenes shot outside, beware that most of the movie takes place in the room at the Hotel Meurice where General von Scholtitz is based, and it truly needs to be emphasized that this is a theatre play brought to the big screen, but still very much a theatre play. Last but certainly not least, the acting performances of the two lead actors (André Dussollier as Raoul Nordling, and Niels Arestrup as General von Choltitz) are nothing short of top-notch and truly carry the film.
"Diplomatie" has garnered rave reviews in Europe, and the screening I saw this at in Antwerp, Belgium last week during a recent family visit, was very well attended. Still, I don't know to what extent this success could be replicated in the US. For me, the movie was a slight bit too static to fully engage me from start to finish. But I would readily suggest that you check this movie out if you get the chance, and draw your own conclusions.
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