All is calm, albeit briefly

In `Joyeux Noel,' a pause among World War I trenches

review B+

April 14, 2006|By MICHAEL WILMINGTON | MICHAEL WILMINGTON,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Joyeux Noel (or Merry Christmas), one of this year's foreign-language Oscar nominees, is based on an incident that took place on Christmas 1914 - during World War I - in the trenches near the German-French border.

Reshaped by French writer-director Christian Carion, it becomes a poignant story, partly true, partly invented, about fraternization between enemies in wartime, in this case among soldiers of three armies - the French and British allies and Germans - whose wintry trenches are within walking distance of each other.

Joyeux Noel (Sony Pictures Classics) Starring Benno Furmann, Diane Kruger. Directed by Christian Carion. (In French, German and English, with English subtitles.) Rated PG-13. Time 110 minutes.

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