Two movies with the French Army in the First World War

A review of two fims

Un long dimanche de fiançailles and Joyeux Noël

Un long dimanche de fiançailles

A very long engagement

( 2004 ) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Synopsis : Mathilde is persuaded that her fiancé, Manech, did not die with the four soldiers executed for self-mutilation. Because if he had died, she would feel it. A Very Long Engagement is about Mathilde and Private Detective Germain Pire’s investigation in a mysterious case of executions at the front.

The movie mixes a romantic adventure and a war story. Showing the violence of the combats and the despair of the men in the trenches seem to have one of the priority of the production when it came to the war part. With actors such as Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tautou, Ticky Holgado, Jean-Pierre Daroussin, Dominique Pinon and Jodie Foster, A Very Long Engagement enjoys an excellent casting, making one of the best modern World War One movie.

One of the most expensive production in the French movie industry, it has been critically acclaimed and won several awards and its actors as well.

Joyeux Noël

Merry Christmas

( 2005 ) by Christian Carion

Synopsis : The war was supposed to last until Christmas but in December 1914, the snow already covers the trenches and the war is not over. However, at Christmas night, the impossible happened. German, Scottish and French soldiers laid down their rifles and met with the enemy, singing songs, sharing chocolate and cigarettes. The three sides will celebrate Christmas with a truce as friends and not as enemies despite the wroth of their respective general headquarters.

The Christmas truce is one of the most fascinating event of World War One. While it only happened on a small part of the front, it is often popularly imagined that it played an important part in the war. With an excellent casting ( Daniel Bruhl, Garry Lewis and Guillaume Canet ) and the possibility to watch the movie in the original language of the characters, Joyeux Noel is a good representation of the soldier’s path from the night of the truce to the consequences they suffered after.