12 Days 12 Movies (Day 9 Christmas Movie Review)

12 Days 12 Movies (Day 9 Christmas Movie Review)

We march on. My hand has healed and in good time. It’s almost Christmas and I still have presents to wrap. So much to do, so little time. Our day 9 Christmas movie review is one I’m sure you won’t recognize. And if you do, cheers to you. Prost. Slàinte. À votre santé. Joyeux Noël.

Christmas Movie Reviews

We at The Honey POP hope to bring you new gems to experience along with the mainstream hits. It’d be an injustice on our part to reiterate every Christmas list available on the internet. There are some movies that deserve some limelight too. And on that note, should be experienced.

Today, we take a trip over the Atlantic and visit work of French filmmaker Christian Carion. Based on a true story. The story of hope in a worldwide conflict. The first of two. A war that introduced new horrors to the Hell of combat. And yet in all the darkness, a bright light shined.

Merry Christmas. Fröhliche Weihnachten…

Joyeux Noël

Joyeux Noël poster Source: IMDB Joyeux Noël

What Christmas movie begins with three warmonger poems? One each from three sides in World War I. France. Scotland. Germany. Describing in poetic detail the annihilation of the enemy.

This one. It’ll hook you from the first second of intensity. The dichotomy of school children speaking of slaying and death. Where could it go from here? What hope remains during war? And not just any war. One of the most horrific conflicts in human history.

Joyeux Noel French soldiers Source: IMDB Joyeux Noel

Based on a true story, the 1914 December on the Western front, enemies and friends threw down their weapons for one night only and celebrated what seemed to be their one commonality.

Joyeux Noel common ground Source: IMDB Joyeux Noel

Synopsis

An epic of our time. We are thrust into war through the eyes of as many as 6 different characters on three sides of World War I’s trench warfare in France. Three lieutenants, two brothers, a priest, and an opera singer. Sounds like the opening to a bad joke. But through these varying perspectives, Joyeux Noël captures the empathy of war and its sympathies, too. The horrors, the fears, and human qualities often dismissed by one’s own enemies.

German opera singer Nikolaus Sprink is sent by the German Kaiser to the front lines to comfort soldiers on Christmas Eve. After brutal warfare on all sides for days on end, the fighting stops. The three sides, the Scottish, the French, and the Germans bunker down in their own trenches and enjoy drinks under makeshift Christmas lights and impromptu Christmas trees.

Then Scottish play their bagpipes and the Germans put their Christmas trees atop their trenches. Each side thinking the other’s celebration is a means of deception in order to destroy the other side. Then Nikolaus Sprink beautifully serenades the German troops in his trench. ‘Silent Night’ is his song of choice. Then something happens.

Ceasefire

The Germans hear accompanying bagpipes also playing ‘Silent Night’. Sprink finishes the song despite his Lieutenant’s demand he step down so his head wouldn’t be spotted by snipers. But when Sprink finishes his song, they hear applause and see the entire Scottish and French trenches sitting in the snow cheering the German opera singer on. A bagpiper stands and begins the song ‘Adeste Fideles’. Sprink joins in, picks up a Christmas tree and walks out into ‘no man’s land’ (the area between trenches considered to be the most dangerous and deadly). Other bagpipers join in and suddenly the frontlines change.

Bagpipers Source: IMDB Joyeux Noel

After the music is finished, the three lieutenants from the three sides join in no man’s land and discuss a ceasefire, after which they share a cup of champagne together. “Merry Christmas,” the Scottish lieutenant says. “Fröhliche Weihnachten,” the German lieutenant says. “Joyeux Noël,” the French lieutenant says.

the three lieutenants Source: IMDB Joyeux Noel

Cast

You’ll see some memorable faces in this movie. Especially if you’re a Tarantino fan. Inglorious Basterds stars Diane Kruger and Daniel Brühl portray two main characters in Joyeux Noël. You may also recognize Diane Kruger from National Treasure.

However, with a diverse cast of British, French and German actors, some of which you may only recognize if you live across the Atlantic in Europe. Or if you’re American and you enjoy foreign films.

An interesting tid-bit: Joyeux Noel premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

True Story

I can’t say this enough. Joyeux Noël is based on a true story. It’s hard to believe harrowing warfare can lead to such optimism and friendship. But this movie serves as a reminder that it is possible to find common ground.

In a day and age in which every ill-will is recorded on cameras and plastered on our TVs and news feeds, it’s hard to escape the negativity. It’s only gotten easier to feel pessimistic about the world. Many will have you believe the world is no good, full of evil and bad feelings.

The true story of the 1914 Christmas Ceasefire goes to show that even in the darkest days, there is hope. Reasons to smile. Reasons to believe there’s good in your fellow man, your allies, and even in your enemies across no man’s land, sitting in wait in the trenches opposite you. Longing for home, missing one’s family. Relishing a lifetime that may be gone in the coming days. And celebrating Christmas with the same passion and joy.

Now that’s what Christmas is about.

Break bread. Enjoy the holidays. And shake hands. There’s too much negativity in this world. Benefit from a little joy this holiday season with Joyeux Noël.

Tune in tomorrow for our day 10 Christmas movie review!

Merry Christmas. Fröhliche Weihnachten. Joyeux Noël.

Did you enjoy our day 9 Christmas movie review? Let us know in the comments! What do you think of the French film Joyeux Noël? Tweet us @Honeypop and let us know!

To Learn More About Joyeux Noel:
IMDB | Wiki

Featured Image Source: IMDB Joyeux Noël

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Joshua McGovern

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