Joyeux Noël (2005, Christian Carion)

Such a joy, and such a well-executed feel-good multi-lingual message movie that I’m surprised it didn’t win an oscar. Guess it’s tough to beat a redemptive picture about African slum violence.

Based vaguely on a true story: on a Christmas eve during WWI, officers from the German, French and Scottish trenches meet up in dead-man’s land and negotiate a temporary truce, talking, drinking and celebrating together. The bummer ending (first poor Dany Boon is shot by a vengeful Scot, then when word gets out about the truce, their superiors are embarrassed and punish everyone involved) can’t completely spoil the mood.

I should know who Lucas Belvaux and Daniel Brühl are, but really only recognized priest-turned-medic Gary Lewis (of Gangs of New York and Yes) and Inglorious Basterds star Diane Kruger. Playing her opera-singing husband was Benno Fürmann, who has an awesome face. I hope to see it again in Speed Racer, Jerichow and Carion’s follow-up, Farewell.