7.7/10
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Joyeux Noel (2005)

Joyeux Noël (original title)
Trailer
2:03 | Trailer
In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allows soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other's way of life.

Director:

Christian Carion
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Diane Kruger ... Anna Sörensen (as Diane Krüger)
Natalie Dessay ... Anna Sörensen (singing voice)
Benno Fürmann ... Nikolaus Sprink
Rolando Villazón ... Nikolaus Sprink (singing voice) (as Rolando Villazon)
Guillaume Canet ... Le lieutenant Audebert
Gary Lewis ... le pasteur Palmer
Dany Boon ... Ponchel
Daniel Brühl ... le lieutenant Horstmayer
Lucas Belvaux ... Gueusselin
Alex Ferns ... Le lieutenant Gordon
Steven Robertson ... Jonathan
Frank Witter ... Jörg - un soldat allemand
Bernard Le Coq Bernard Le Coq ... Le général Audebert
Ian Richardson ... L'évêque anglais
Thomas Schmauser ... Le Kronprinz
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Storyline

In 1914, World War I, the bloodiest war ever at that time in human history, was well under way. However on Christmas Eve, numerous sections of the Western Front called an informal, and unauthorized, truce where the various front-line soldiers of the conflict peacefully met each other in No Man's Land to share a precious pause in the carnage with a fleeting brotherhood. This film dramatizes one such section as the French, Scottish and German sides partake in the unique event, even though they are aware that their superiors will not tolerate its occurrence. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

France 1914. A moment of humanity that made history. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for some war violence and a brief scene of sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Towards the end of the film Major General Audebert says "i've been ordered to arrest a cat for treason", A cat portrayed in the film as Felix/Nestor, was actually arrested and shot for espionage after it arrived in French lines wearing a new collar and bearing a note (in french) which read "which regiment are you from?". The general in charge decided just to follow the letter of the law, the cat was shot for spying. See more »

Goofs

When the German soldier is marching toward the enemy holding the Christmas tree, he is singing "Adeste Fideles" - the original Latin song translated into English as "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." For the chorus he is clearly singing "Venite adoramus" - meaning, "Come, we adore". This is wrong. It should be "Venite adoremus" - "Come, let us adore". How could everybody in the cast and crew have missed a mistake like that? The song has been around since the 1600's. The only possible answer: the singing was dubbed in later, in the studio, where it might have been missed. But still... really? See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Enfant francais: Child, upon these maps do heed This black stain to be effaced Omitting it, you would proceed Yet better it in red to trace Later, whatever may come to pass Promise there to go you must To fetch the children of Alsace Reaching out their arms to us May in our fondest France Hope's green saplings to branch And in you, dear child, flower Grow, grow, France awaits its hour.
Enfant anglais: To rid the map of every trace Of Germany and of the Hun We must exterminate that race We must not leave a single ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Dreaming of Home
(end titles)
Written by Philippe Rombi
Performed by Chorale Scala and London Symphony Orchestra with Philippe Rombi (piano)
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User Reviews

 
The Power of Song as a Gateway of Understanding
16 November 2006 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

Writer/director Christian Carion ('Une hirondelle a fait le printemps' aka 'The Girl from Paris') is unafraid to write and create cinematic tales that touch the heart as well as the mind. 'Joyeux Noël' is a story of war and its effects on soldiers that goes far beyond sentimentality (or the opposite emphasis on brutality as found in American films) and offers the viewer insights to the responses of young men's minds to the monster of war and how they cope.

Based on a true story, the film opens with the usual callous killing among three groups of soldiers - German, French, and Scottish - who face an oncoming Christmas Eve in the trenches, the realities of fighting have precluded their getting time to retreat for air. But a miracle happens: among the Germans is a famous opera tenor Nikolaus Sprink (Benno Fürmann) who has aligned with his fellow troops in the trenches, hoping he can bring some minor sense of Christmas and understanding to them. His soprano partner Anna Sorensen (Diane Kruger) finds a way to be with him in the trenches on Christmas Eve, 1914. Meanwhile the disgruntle troops of all three sectors are planning meager festivities and a bit of relaxation even in the trenches as the bodies of the day's plunder lie in the snow of no man's land. We get to know the French Lieutenant Audebert (Guillaume Canet) and his orderly Ponchel (Dany Boon), the German head of the regiment Horstmayer (Daniel Brühl), and the Scots - especially the priest/medic Palmer (Gary Lewis).

Christmas Eve comes and the voice of Sprink (in reality the tenor Rolando Villazón) sings 'Stille Nacht', rising out of the trenches to sing in the open of no man's land. Soon he is accompanied by the Scottish bagpipes and the 'chorus' of the Germans, the Scots and the French. They all emerge, share gifts of champagne and other libations, and agree to a cease-fire in honor of the holiday. It is in this magic moment that the true personalities of these warring men surface and each is seen as a vulnerable puppet of the WW I, exchanging addresses to meet after the war. Anna Sorenson has managed to enter the scene and during a communal mass led by Palmer she sings (the voice is Natalie Dessay) an Ave Maria (composed by the film's composer Philippe Rombi): the lovers have previously sung a duet version of Bach's 'Bist du bei mir'. For that moment in time the horrors of war melt and the camaraderie of the men glows and is carried into Christmas Day when all three groups of soldiers agree to bury their dead together. Of course the brutality and ignorance of war re-engages and the leaders of the three groups enter camp and threaten courts martial and punishment for the troops' lack of military discipline. The film ends in a manner that leaves the audience able to integrate the happenings of that Christmas Eve on the futures of these men.

The script is superb, the cast is uniformly excellent, the sets and cinematography are creatively moody, and the musical score by Philippe Rombi is one of the finest in years: the ending song 'I'm Dreaming of Home' deserves to become a standard. Would that everyone could see this film, a bit of global hope in the cloud of the destruction that shadows our world right now. Highly recommended. Grady Harp


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

France | Germany | UK | Belgium | Romania | Norway | Japan | USA

Language:

French | German | English | Latin

Release Date:

9 November 2005 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Merry Christmas See more »

Filming Locations:

Romania See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,054,361

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,709,155
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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