Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Joyeux Noël: A Warm History


Right after exam, the desire of watching movie did lurk into my soul and I can’t decide what to watch as I had forgot where did I put my movie list. After checking for some interesting war movie, I remembered about this very movie which I thought of French, history and Christmas: Joyeux Noël. It is based on a true story which happened on 24th December 1914, known as the Christmas Truce during the WWI. Of course, the movie posters did transfer the message quite clearly by displaying the shake of hands and also the leaders of the three regimens of different countries (Scottish, French and German) walking together.


The opening part of the movie had made a very interesting entrance by having three different kids speaking English, French and German, giving speech on their passion towards their own countries and at the same time the distrust of their condemned enemies, showing how mentality of the human had been during that time period, giving a deeper insight of the society of the days. I had posted about that previously and you can refer here.


The movie mixed in with some personal portrayal of certain characters to give more detail upon how the history develops along the line. However, we could see the white feather generation mentality which was portrayed by youngsters who looked at war as an event to prove themselves. Besides, there is a certain people who really thought war will eventually end by Christmas. So when the Great War continued, it was clearly not a short war. Of course, we could, again, see the difference between technologies of the three. While the Germans were using tanks and better guns, the French were obviously lagging behind by still using the old-fashioned gun with knife in front (what is it called?). And yes, this had shown how much advantage the Germans were. However, no matter how much you are better equipped in a battlefield, there is no doubt casualties were inevitable. This occurred to all divisions and this movie focused on the three which met  each other face to face in the no man’s land around Alsace. On the eve of Christmas, however, history unfolded into a warm episode when music had actually melted the situation where they decided on a temporary cease-fire just for Christmas eve. Eventually it ended up with merry and warm Christmas eve, not only with exchange of information but also people stayed together despite religion difference. On Christmas day, they decided to bury all the dead by ‘burying the dead on the day Christ reborn’. The story developed into warm chapters, which would be too long to be explained here. Of course, a lot of things were not understood by third party, which was what happened to them. Their ‘bosses’, of course, did not tolerate with their ‘friendship with the enemy’. However, it is quite a deep insight when the French division leader told his father that he has become a grandfather by knowing from the Germans who occupied French zone that his wife gave birth to a boy. Many of them were then transferred. Some were brainwashed by biased religion leaders to fight and kill. In the very end, before they were transferred, they sang ‘I’m dreaming of home’ which really depicted the emotion of that time…

Frankly speaking, this is a movie about a very short history and may not contain high quality actions – but you could feel a lot by watching it, a good one to plunge yourself into history…

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