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Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël) - Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, Gary Lewis, Guillaume Canet, Christian Carion

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

On Christmas Eve 1914 in Northern France, officers and soldiers from Scotland, Germany and France, who fought each other from trenches barely 100 metres apart on a daily basis, put down their weapons to share wine and food, exchange photographs and memories and play a game of soccer in the snow. It was an extraordinary act of human generosity and humility - and a true event.

The story follows a Scottish Anglican priest, who volunteered to follow his young church aides; a prestigious Berlin tenor now fighting for his country, and the French Lieutenant Audebert, who has had to leave his pregnant wife behind. These men and their peers easily find a common ground that is dangerously subversive to their superiors.

A bona-fide hit of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël) is a heart-warming story about courage and dignity. Anchored by an excellent international cast this deeply moving and uplifting film features scenes of great bravery, simple decency and extraordinary humour. With a genuine poignancy in its celebration of the way a shared humanity transcended the madness of war, this elegant film is a European classic.

Theatrical propaganda posters

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Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film Germany Scotland France World War I truce Christmas Eve trench warfare

Persons of interest

  • Diane Kruger .... Anna Sörensen
  • Benno Fürmann .... Nikolaus Sprink
  • Guillaume Canet .... Lieutenant Audebert
  • Gary Lewis .... Palmer
  • Dany Boon .... Ponchel
  • Daniel Brühl .... Horstmayer
  • Alex Ferns .... Gordon
  • Christopher Fulford .... Major
  • Robin Laing .... William
  • Ian Richardson .... Bishop
  • Steven Robertson .... Jonathan
  • Friedemann Thiele .... Karl
  • Johannes Richard Voelkel .... Gunther
  • Frank Witter .... Jörg
  • Christian Carion .... Screenwriter
  • Christian Carion .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

There was never a good war or a bad peace. - Benjamin Franklin

In any war, the first casualty is common sense, and the second is free and open discussion. - James Reston

To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder. - Albert Einstein

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill. - Mohandas Gandhi

War is the ultimate proof that politicians are unfit to govern. - Special Agent Matti

Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël) is pretty obvious in its storyline as there is only so much you can do with historically accurate events, especially ones which are so well known. On the other hand, war is something that few people get to experience (TV doesn't count because it doesn't look real: movies present war much more effectively than a 30-second bite on the news) so the overwhelming stupidity of it all needs a lot of viewing in order with which to come to grips. [This is the sort of bloody grammar up with which I will not put. - Director of Intelligence.]

Anyway, you get a good look at all three trenches (French, German and Scottish) and the men therein. One thing you learn quite quickly is that people are people no matter where they are, which is why the extraordinary cessation of hostilities up and down the line is such a wonderful thing. If only the generals, safe behind the back lines, had as much humanity.

The three lieutenants are not just ably but intriguingly put by sexy Frenchman Guillaume Canet, sexy German Daniel Brühl and some Scottish dude I've never seen before. The opera singers Nikolaus Sprink and Anna Sörensen are prettily portrayed by Diane Kruger and Benno Fürmann but it's a pity that the voices are dubbed as the lip-synching is terrible. Don't let that stop you from seeing Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël) as there's plenty of other stuff to look at.

I'll leave you with one more saying: When old men go to war, young men die. Thanks a lot, you old farts.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: English, French, German
  • Picture: Widescreen 16:9
  • Special features:
    • Trailers: Upcoming releases
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

M (Moderate violence, war themes, moderate sex scene)

Surveillance time

116 minutes (1:56 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 15 December 2005
DVD rental: 31 May 2006

Cinema surveillance images

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