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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: war is hell, especially at Christmastime

I basically started at the beginning of FlickFilosopher.com, with this ongoing retrospective, and have been moving forward in time, but I’m gonna jump out of those temporal constraints at the moment so I can highlight one of the most touching movies about the magic of Christmas I’ve ever seen, since there won’t be another Christmas before I’m done next September. From my review of Joyeux Noel, from earlier this year:

If irony wasn’t actually invented in the 20th century, perhaps it was invented for the 20th century, which started out with an unsinkable ship that promptly sank and moved immediately into a war to end all wars that everyone loved so much they said, What the hell, let’s make a sequel. And in the opening months of that first Great War, a most extraordinary — and most ironic — event occurred: On December 24, 1914, French and British soldiers ventured forth out of their trenches, German soldiers clambered out of theirs, and they all met in the middle to celebrate the holiday. And then, after this brief and spontaneous Christmas truce, they went back to their trenches to face the prospect of having to kill their new friends.

review of Joyeux Noël, posted 05.04.06

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One Comment

  1. Nice review. Your comments at the begin about irony got a good laugh out of me. I never got around to seeing this, but maybe I should; I know a fair amount about the event it chronicles, so I’d be interested in their take. I’m a little surprised that there wasn’t more social commentary in that review, though, given your contention that period pieces only really work if they’re made relevant to our time (not a quote, but I think it reflects your views- feel free to disagree with me). We’re living in a time when soldiers are sent to war for reasons that are dubious at best. Those same soldiers are told that the people who fight them are all heartless terrorists determined to destroy America, when in fact many of them are natives who simply don’t want a foreign army in their country. The various Middle Eastern factions are even worse, particularly the Israelis and Palestinians, who are constantly demonized by the enemy leaders in order to obscure how much they have in common and how little they get from fighting each other. The only difference is that there’s no chance in the Middle East of the factions having a truce based on shared religion, since they don’t share a religion. Other than that, though, the Christmas Eve truce and its implications seem incredibly relevant to our current state of affairs. I’m sure you thought of all of that yourself, but I’m surprised that you didn’t mention it.

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