Monday, December 5, 2005

Guillaume Canet, Diane Kruger, Benno Fuhrmann, Gary Lewis

SM Megamall, Cinema 1

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This is France's entry in the best foreign film category for the 2006 Oscar awards. Quite timely for the holiday season as it depicts how the French, Scots and the Germans troops celebrated Christmas Eve during the first World War somewhere in occupied France barrricaded deep in their respective trenches. It all started when the Scots played their bagpipes to relieve their boredom. Then a German tenor/soldier sang "Silent Night" to amuse his fellow soldiers who desperately miss their families during the Yuletide season. Soon all three forces go out of their trenches. A ceasefire is declared by the officers and they exchange pictures and drink champagne. Then on Christmas day itself, they bury their dead comrades and play a friendly soccer game. An inspirational film that showcases the facets of humanity. We get to see the Germans soldiers as humane and not as the evil antagonists they are depicted to be in war movies. They too have wives and families back home and they are just following orders. It is based on actual historical events which happened all over the fronts on Christmas day in 1914. The first World War when battles were fought in fronts and trenches all across Europe. One of the most bloody wars the world has ever seen.
Diane Kruger is the lone woman in the entire film and portrays the soprano wife of the German tenor. You can tell she is just mouthing the operatic arias and it doesn't really take much of a talent to do that. Guillaume Canet, who looks like a younger version of Patrick Dempsey is incidentally her husband in real life. I recognize him as the actor in another French movie (Mon Idole) which I watched at the French Film Festival at Greenbelt. But the movie doesn't really focus much on the actors per se but on the theme of camaraderie and humanity's willingness to set aside hostilities just for one day to celebrate Christmas. A good joint production collaborated by France, the UK, Germany, Belgium and Romania. Definitely a feel good Christmas themed movie and its simplicity really shines through. It showcases the true meaning of Christmas in its pure form not the crass commercialism of gifts, parties and Santa Claus.

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