Joyeux Noël

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Overview

The year is 1914, and as World War I continues to rage across the European countryside, four individuals stuck on the front lines find themselves faced with the unthinkable in director Christian Carion's Academy Award-nominated account of the true-life wartime event that would offer hope for peace in mankind's darkest hour. When the war machines began rolling in the summer of 1914, the devastation that it waged upon German, British, and French troops was palpable. As the winter winds began to blow and the ...
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Overview

The year is 1914, and as World War I continues to rage across the European countryside, four individuals stuck on the front lines find themselves faced with the unthinkable in director Christian Carion's Academy Award-nominated account of the true-life wartime event that would offer hope for peace in mankind's darkest hour. When the war machines began rolling in the summer of 1914, the devastation that it waged upon German, British, and French troops was palpable. As the winter winds began to blow and the soldiers sat huddled in their trenches awaiting the generous Christmas care packages sent by the families, the sounds of warfare took a momentary backseat to the yearning for brotherhood among all of mankind. It is here that the fate of a French lieutenant, a Scottish priest, a German tenor, and a Danish soprano's lives were about to be changed forever. On Christmas Eve of that year, the lonely souls of the front lines abandoned their arms to reach out to their enemies on the battlefield and greet them with not anger or hostility, but with the simple, kindly gesture of a much needed cigarette or a treasured piece of chocolate, and to put their differences aside long enough to wish their brothers a sincere "Merry Christmas!"
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Special Features

Audio commentary with writer/director Christian Carion; Interview with writer/director Christian Carion
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
In wartime, does shared humanity trump duty? Based on authentic incidents from World War I, writer-director Christian Carion’s emotionally rich period drama attempts to answer that age-old question. Enemies are juxtaposed: the Scottish brothers Jonathan (Steven Robertson) and William (Robin Laing) with Nikolaus (Benno Furmann), a famed German tenor. The horrors of war take their toll, but a brief truce is called for Christmas Eve; soon the German singer and Scottish bagpipers join to make beautiful music from their separate outposts. The mortal adversaries begin fraternizing, but night passes all too quickly. Christmas Day presents an ethical dilemma: Where does holiday spirit end and treason begin? The production is well served by accurate period detail and skillful location shooting in France, Romania, Germany, and Scotland. It’s a tribute to Carion’s vision and sensitivity that the Oscar-nominated Joyeux Noel transforms the potentially maudlin into the profoundly affecting.
All Movie Guide
The unauthorized good will summit that took place on a French battlefield on Christmas Eve, 1914, is such an anomaly within modern military engagement, it's hard to believe a movie hasn't been made about it prior to Christian Carion's Joyeux Noel -- especially since filmmakers (or more to the point, studios) are always trying to capture the elusive "true spirit of Christmas" in their holiday films. In the age of the war on terror, where no tactic for crippling the enemy is considered too dirty, it's interesting to ponder the circumstances of Scottish, French and German troops laying down their arms for Christmas -- the fact that opposing officers could meet on the battlefield without coming under sniper fire, or that warring armies once actually worshiped the same God. Yet that's what happened here, as soldiers shared their various alcoholic beverages and native sweets, sang carols together, competed in friendly games of football, and sat together for Christmas mass. It should be no surprise that the superiors in each army thought this temporary truce amounted to treason, nor that the participants were confused and disheartened by the prospect of becoming enemies again. Joyeux Noel is told in English, French and German, and it does an excellent job putting us in the snow-covered boots of each side. It reminds us that war is fought between humans, not soulless killing machines, and that belief in the righteousness of contradictory positions doesn't make these humans incapable of compassion or unworthy of dignity. Overshadowing these moments of fraternization -- some of which are truly touching -- is our knowledge that World War I would push on for four more years, and that many of those present would likely be killed. Joyeux Noel makes us grateful they at least got to experience this last unexpected moment of transcendent peace.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/14/2006
  • UPC: 043396150997
  • Original Release: 2005
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:56:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Diane Kruger Anna Sorensen
Benno Fürmann Nikolaus Sprink
Guillaume Canet Audebert
Gary Lewis Palmer
Dany Boon Ponchel
Daniel Brühl Horstmayer
Alex Ferns Gordon
Steven Robertson Jonathan
Lucas Belvaux Gueusselin
Bernard Le Coq General
Ian Richardson Bishop
Frank Witter Jorg
Thomas Schmauser Le Konprinz
Joachim Bissemeyer
Robin Laing William
Suzanne Flon La Chatelaine
Michel Serrault Le Chatelain
Technical Credits
Christian Carion Director, Screenwriter
Andrei Boncea Co-producer
Christopher Borgmann Co-producer
Thomas Desjonqueres Sound/Sound Designer
Natalie Dessay Score Composer
Bertrand Faivre Co-producer
Susie Figgis Casting
Alison Forbes-Meyler Costumes/Costume Designer
Sol Gatti-Pascual Co-producer
Benjamin Herrmann Co-producer
Dean Humphreys Sound/Sound Designer
Phillippe Larue Asst. Director
Eve Machuel Executive Producer
Pierre Mertens Sound/Sound Designer
Kate Ogborn Co-producer
Patrick Quinet Co-producer
Philippe Rombi Score Composer
Christophe Rossignon Producer
Sabine Schroth Casting
Andrea Sedlackova Editor
Jean-Michel Simonet Production Designer
Anna Sorensen Score Composer
Nikolaus Sprink Score Composer
Walther van den Ende Cinematographer
Rolando Villazón Score Composer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Joyeux Noel
1. Differences/Titles and Credits [4:12]
2. War Is Declared [3:48]
3. Futility [5:08]
4. Trying to Help [3:46]
5. Secret Liaison [3:46]
6. Planning a Recital [3:03]
7. In the Wrong Place [3:18]
8. Close to Home [4:21]
9. Reunion [4:02]
10. Duet [6:10]
11. Bagpipes [3:25]
12. Something in Common [5:42]
13. First Time Officers [2:17]
14. Then the Soldiers [2:59]
15. Families Back Home [3:23]
16. Christmas Mass [2:26]
17. An Angel Sings [3:49]
18. Reminder of War [4:14]
19. Talk About the Dead [3:39]
20. Burying the Dead [5:22]
21. Fun and Games [2:19]
22. Shelling [5:28]
23. Prisoners [4:33]
24. Betrayal of Letters [1:12]
25. Loss Faith [5:57]
26. Fate of the Scots [2:33]
27. Fate of the French [3:25]
28. Fate of the Germans [11:13]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Joyeux Noel
   Play Movie
   Subtitles
      English
      Spanish/Español
      Spanish Subtitled Commentary
      Portuguese/Português
      Portuguese Subtitled Commentary
      Subtitles Off
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Christian Carion: On
      Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Christian Carion: Off
      Interview With Director Christian Carion
      Trailers
         Curse of the Golden Flower
         Driving Lessons
         The Italian
         Who Killed the Electric Car?
         Why We Fight
         The Passenger
         The White Countess
         The Triplets of Belleville
         Bon Voyage
         Look at Me
         The Devil and Daniel Johnston
         The Best of World War II Movies
         The Pursuit of Happyness
         The Holiday
   Trailers
      Curse of the Golden Flower
      Driving Lessons
      The Italian
      Who Killed the Electric Car?
      Why We Fight
      The Passenger
      The White Countess
      The Triplets of Belleville
      Bon Voyage
      Look at Me
      The Devil and Daniel Johnston
      The Best of World War II Movies
      The Pursuit of Happyness
      The Holiday
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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2 Star

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Inspiring film, beautiful message

    A perfect film to watch during the holiday season. It is hard NOT to be inspired and moved by Joyeux Noel. This film, thankfully, does not have the violence of other war films. It does have beautifully emotional performances given by the perfectly-cast Scottish, French, and German actors. The visuals are breathtaking and the soundtrack is simple, but perfectly rendered. It's difficult to get through the movie without a couple Kleenex, so be prepared!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An international masterpiece

    I don't know if the soldiers in 1914 actually determined to call a truce because they heard each other's songs about home or Christmas, but this film did a magnificent job of showing how music can break down any barriers between people. However, an equally indelible image is the young Scot whose mind breaks following his brother's death. His emotional collapse - along with his act of "revenge" - brought the gut-wrenching tragedy of war home to me more than any other events in the movie. Unable to associate with anyone around him, hardly even able to speak anymore, he retreats into a shell, focused only on writing to his mother as if all is well and waiting for the chance to kill an enemy soldier. All the actors did an incredible job with this phenomenal script, and another salient issue to dwell on is the high-ranking priest who gives the sermon at the end. A haunting speech: while he urges his countrymen to wipe the German race - man, woman and child - off the face of the earth so that they can never terrorize the world again, as hideous and revolting as that command is (particularly coming from a man of the cloth), look at what happened 25 years later. And having said that, there's one more topic to consider: the German commander (Daniel Bruhl's character) says he's a Jew near the end, so even if he had not taken part in the truce and instead continued to dutifully slaughter enemy troops, his service for his country would have been rewarded with death in a concentration camp come the 1930s. A remarkably compelling and intelligent film.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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