Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Joyeux Noël

(Merry Christmas, 2005)

… and Fröhliches Weihnachten, if you please. This is a film about the “Christmas Truce” during the winter of 1914. It actually happened, at several places along the trenches, though many details are unconfirmed and possibly apocryphal, including a soccer match between the enemies, Scots and French on one side, Germans on the other. This tale has been told in song and story many times, including one of my favorite scenes from Blackadder. From Wikipedia:

In the final episode of “Blackadder Goes Forth,” the protagonists discuss events of the past that led them to their current situation, including the Christmas Truce. Captain Blackadder was apparently still sore over being ruled offside during a football game with the Germans. He also cynically muses that “Both sides advanced further during one Christmas piss-up than they did in the next two-and-a half years of war.”

There are some good scenes here, some good writing, good acting. But it’s all a bit slow, and a bit earnest. If you want to see a masterpiece about what was possibly the craziest war ever fought, try Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory.