JOYEUX NOËL (Merry Christmas)
Nominated for a 2006 Oscar for Best Foreign Film and receiving a 30-minute standing ovation at Cannes after it screened, JOYEUX NOﾃ記 (Merry Christmas) is dedicated to the troops who ceased fire during World War I at Christmastime.
Scottish, French and German soldiers hold their ground near the French/German border. Mounting casualities and fatalities on all sides, the troops are tired and can't wait to go home and be with their loved ones in time for Christmas. When word comes that no one will be going home, they all try to make the best of the holidays amongst their fellow soldiers. That night something happens which leaves rifles in the trenches to share cigarette and chocolate with their opponents. That night, they all agree to cease fire and wish each other a Merry Christmas.
You all must think I'm a big sap by now seeing as I shed tears every third movie or so. But really, I'm not a babbling basketcase that cries at the drop of a hat ... really. I just so happen to be watching a lot of really emotionally wrenching, tugging and pulling at your heartstrings type of movies these days.
What's touching about this particular film is that it very subtlely stresses the point that war isn't so much fought between two countries but rather fought between individuals who have a grievance with the other. Just watching the film, it almost becomes slightly ridiculous how these soldiers who once thirst for the blood of their enemy now saves them. Kinda difficult to shoot your enemy once you've shared a coffee with them isn't it?
Director and writer Christian Carrion says about making JOYEUX NOﾃ記; "When by chance, I first learned of these recorded acts of fraternization on Christmas 1914, I was deeply moved to find out this could have happened. I am trying to share with the spectator that original emotion I felt. I know these feelings come from the fact that deep-rooted enemies were able, during the course of a few hours, to talk, to get to know one another and to enjoy one another's company."
I would recommend to check the movie out, though I would be hard pressed to see it twice.
JOYEUX NOﾃ記 is distributed by SEVILLE PICTURES and opens in Toronto March 17th at selected theatres.
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