Joyeux NoelNovember 9, 2005
On Christmas Eve during world War I, the Germans, French, and Scottish fraternize and get to know the men who live on the opposite side of a brutal war, in what became a true lesson of humanity.
Release Year: 2005
Rating: 7.7/10 (12,033 voted)
Critic's Score: 70/100
Stars: Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Guillaume Canet
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.
(as Diane Krüger)
(as Rolando Villazon)
Bernard Le Coq
Without an enemy there can be no war.
Release Date: 9 November 2005
Filming Locations: France
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $5,421
(22 December 2005)
(14 November 2006)
Did You Know?
The football match depicted was probably inspired by the documented game between the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh Fusiliers and the Saxon Infantry who played football on Christmas Day 1914. In 2008 the British and German Army's sent teams France to play a game of football in honour of their predecessors.
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.
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 one Heed not their children's cries Best slay all now, the women, too Or else someday again they'll rise Which if they're dead, they cannot do.
Destined to be a Christmas classic
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