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Diplomatie (2014)

Diplomatie (2014)

André DussollierNiels ArestrupBurghart KlaußnerRobert Stadlober
Volker Schlöndorff


Diplomatie (2014) is a French,German movie. Volker Schlöndorff has directed this movie. André Dussollier,Niels Arestrup,Burghart Klaußner,Robert Stadlober are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2014. Diplomatie (2014) is considered one of the best Drama,War movie in India and around the world.

A historical drama that depicts the relationship between Dietrich von Choltitz, the German military governor of occupied Paris, and Swedish consul-general Raoul Nordling.

Diplomatie (2014) Reviews

  • Tenacity of a European Diplomat and the Open-Mindedness of a German General May Have Saved a European Treasure


    We often think of history as inevitable outcomes, but sometimes we forget that many things we hold dear were held in the balance in history. In late summer, 1944, the L'Arc de Triomphe, la Place de la Concorde, the Louvre, and the many ancient and modern streets of Paris could have been blown into oblivion in less than one day. Towards the end of August, 1944, the allies had retaken many of the Reich's former strongholds such as Rome and Tropoli. And now the allies were on the borders of German-occupied Paris about to storm and retake the most famous French city. When the Reich realized they had no chance of resisting the allies from liberating the city from German occupation, Adolph Hitler made a final ultimatum: make Paris a "scorched-earth". In other words, destroy the city and lay it waste. It would be destruction on a massive scale which would not only destroy one of the most beautiful cities in the world but also murder potentially millions of lives. And yet there was neither strategic nor tactical advantage to razing Paris, only killing and mayhem. And the many monuments and art would be lost forever. Whether Hitler's order was out of pure insanity continues to be debated, although one thing is certain. The order was made most likely out of malice towards the allies and the rest Europe when it became obvious Hitler and Germany would be defeated and not as a puzzle piece towards any larger strategy to win the war. For 3 to 4 days, General Von Choltitz, then German general in charge of Paris, orchestrated his young soldiers and engineers to plant hidden explosives under the many bridges over the Seine, the main waterway which runs through Paris. Explosive U-boat torpedoes were also deployed in tunnels under the city that, if ignited, would destroy Paris from the ground-up. At the same time, Resistance fighters had tried, unsuccessfully, to stop the deployment. At the beginning of the film, General Choltitz meets with his top commanders to begin the process of laying waste to Paris. Then, the General receives an expected visitor, Raoul Nordling of the Swedish Consul in Paris. (In fact, the man who visited the general was Pierre Charles Tattinger, the mayor of Paris. For dramatic purposes, the characters of Tattinger and Nordling may have been combined into a single person.) The film becomes a dialogue between Nordling and Choltitz in which Nordling has to find a way to persuade the general that destroying Paris is not only a heinous criminal act even by wartime standards but also not in his best interests. After each of Nordling's arguments, Choltitz counters with other arguments, such as he cannot disobey orders from the Reich, particularly those of Hitler, no matter how monstrous they may be. Eventually, Choltitz offers Nordling a trump card which the diplomat can't seem to counter, unless he has something else up his sleeve to persuade the general. A brilliantly written and acted film based on the play of the same name by Cyril Gely who also adapted the screenplay. André Dussollier as Nordling and Niels Arestrup as General Choltitz offer tour-de-force performances about a meeting which determined the fate of an historic city. Although we know the ending, we don't always know how we arrived there. "Diplomatie" ("Diplomacy") shows us how we got there.

  • Refreshing Humility in an Age of "Big" Movies


    I got the chance to see "Diplomacy" last night at the Angelika in Dallas, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Twenty minutes into it, I saw where the movie was heading, the set up of it, and enjoyed every minute. The movie is a shining light on the wisdom, gentleness, and burden of age and power. Two elderly men are grappling, albeit with very different styles, over the future of Paris and its iconic treasures. It's a snapshot of history that I never saw, and holds a profound depth I won't forget. The play-turned-movie is the story of the general in charge of the Nazi Occupation of Paris, and the Swedish diplomat who has a passing relationship with the man when the play begins. All of Paris' great architectural treasures are to be destroyed to buy time for the retreat of the Nazi army across France, and it's only a matter of hours before the order is given. The Swedish diplomat in his powerful and sly persuasive style takes on the general in trying to dissuade him through some of the most artful, intelligent and brilliant rhetoric I've seen in a movie. In many ways the film feels like a boxing match, a final scene in a Rocky movie between an underdog boxer and his strong but weary opponent who seemingly has no weaknesses. There is both the German and French culture's strengths and weaknesses on display (even though the diplomat represents Sweden he openly says that Paris has embraced her and she him). I love this sort of contrast, particularly in showing that Germans have a softer side that's deep and valuable to them, and the French have a gristly fighting spirit that was formidable and feared up to this day; unfortunate stereotypes for both cultures. I read a quora article today about how the French didn't flee the Germans, they fought but in the WWI style that was ineffective against the Blitzkrieg (now adopted by all modern militaries in the world today). We also forget the British lost to the Germans shortly afterward, and were driven back to their island. The movie feels like a play, which I would somewhat fault it for in some ways, but it doesn't become a distraction or take away from the film. Also the movie seems small at times, with 90% of the dialog happening in one room in a hotel where the Nazi general works. Granted, this is likely due to the low budget and it does help the motif of the movie being about the power these two men have over the fate of Paris. This movie falls in line with a string of films lately that could almost make a genre itself: the artist/culturally sensitive figure fighting to preserve and save artistic treasures amidst a raging battle. "Monuments Men" and "The Train" come to mind immediately. I can't help but think of all the destruction caused by wars, the Abbey at Monte Cassino being one, as well as several that we're seeing in the Middle East. I remember reading about how many important buildings and museums were threatened and attempted to be preserved as the US army went through Iraq. Historical treasures that are destroyed by war is one of the greatest arguments against it, its chaos and disregard for what's most valuable in the world. A broader theme though is the value of an entire culture and its history, and how often war and strife easily take those down, possibly because they're so prominent and essential to a city's character. Coming from a country like the US, I don't have as acute a sense of this as those who live in Europe, but there is still something in humanity in which we are drawn to monumental art, and value it as more than just a tourist site. Paris is an easy example of this. The movie is worth seeing, and it's quaint in its setting, and beams a sense of humility which is refreshing when movies in our time seem to fight to be the biggest (though the consequences of the decisions made in the movie are massive). It's where live theater has something to offer the world of movies, a kind of depth through being as small as possible.

  • Intense, thoughtful, delicate, and if a hair too slow, also hair-raising stuff


    Diplomacy (2014) Blow up Paris? Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre? Yes—almost. And for real. It's 1944. In the final days (or day) of the German occupation of Paris, as the Allies were moving very quickly in, the Germans (under Hitler's orders) were increasingly desperate. And bitter. They were going to leave the lovely city in ruins—you know that kind of baby attitude, if I can't have it you can't have it either. Well, we know that Paris was not blown up. (The city famously survived the truly brutal World War II with hardly a scratch, compared to the rest of Europe.) And the final decision —to do it or not—fell to one man, ultimately, aging commanding German General Choltitz. And a man appears in his quarters who we learn is the Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling. Nordling sees the crisis, and sees the general's quandary, and has to find a way to stop the madness. And so we have a condensed version of some very real events. The movie is based on a play which by necessity distilled this down to mostly these two characters in their hotel, though we are given a convincing sense of the city and the Germans around the hotel. This is high drama in its purest simplest form—conversation. The men try to understand each other. The general knows the Swede is trying to persuade him, and the Swede knows the general is under orders that can't be defied. There is the moment, and then there is history, and how the world will later look on the moment. And it all is spelled out with such delicious economy and psychology, it's riveting. And even though you know that Paris survives, you won't know why or how, or how close it came to rubble, until you see this.

  • Worthwhile for the lead acting performances


    "Diplomatie" (2014 release from France; 90 min.) is the big screen adaptation of the theatre play of the same name by Cyril Gely. (Disclaimer: I have not seen the theatre play.) The story takes place on the eve of the liberation of Paris in late August, 1944. The German commander-in-charge, General von Choltitz, has orders to destroy all of the main landmarks of Paris (Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame cathedral, etc.). Enter French diplomat Raoul Nordling, who tries talking von Choltitz out of implementing the orders from Berlin. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out. Several comments: this movie is directed by none other than legendary German film maker Volker Schlöndorff, yes he of "The Tin Drum" from the late 1970s. Who knew he was still around and making movies? Second, while on some occasions there are scenes shot outside, beware that most of the movie takes place in the room at the Hotel Meurice where General von Scholtitz is based, and it truly needs to be emphasized that this is a theatre play brought to the big screen, but still very much a theatre play. Last but certainly not least, the acting performances of the two lead actors (André Dussollier as Raoul Nordling, and Niels Arestrup as General von Choltitz) are nothing short of top-notch and truly carry the film. "Diplomatie" has garnered rave reviews in Europe, and the screening I saw this at in Antwerp, Belgium last week during a recent family visit, was very well attended. Still, I don't know to what extent this success could be replicated in the US. For me, the movie was a slight bit too static to fully engage me from start to finish. But I would readily suggest that you check this movie out if you get the chance, and draw your own conclusions.

  • Not quite the classic it could have been


    I saw this film with my girlfriend in Haus der Berliner Festpiele on February 14th as a Berlinale 2014 Special. I went into the film with little to no knowledge on the production beforehand (ie. the actors, director, producer, scenarist) and hence, what type of film to expect, e.g. more of a "Is Paris Burning?" (1966) or a "Downfall (Der Untergang)" (2004)?, with only a vague knowledge of the subject itself plus a vague memory of reading the synopsis from the Berlinale catalogue. Originally a play, this screen adaptation tells a fictionalized* account of the negotiations between Dietrich von Choltitz, the German General and Governor of Paris, and Raoul Nordling, the Swedish consul-general, at Hotel Meurice, the headquarters of the former on the eve of The Liberation of Paris in 1944. It is a dialogue-driven film with very few cuts between different scenes, characters and events and maintains a very fine and serenely intriguing pace with a good script and a focus on the interplay between the main characters. The script shines with brilliant moments of reason and questioning where humble, thought provoking and beautifully humane concepts are elegantly waved into the dialogues. Without giving spoilers, one such particular moment was the question of future cohabitation and peace between two peoples, which I found to be the strongest and the most haunting point raised in the entire film. Clearly, the script was written to haunt the viewers with similar notes of contemplation. However, intentions aside, the backbone of the film is the solid acting by André Dussollier (Raoul Nordling) with his ever so slightly and mischievously probing and also understandably desperate demeanor (with a devilish resemblance, as my girlfriend put it -a very fitting impression I find) and Niels Arestrup's (von Choltitz) stoic and war-worn cynicism while effortlessly switching between German and French, adding to the phonetic richness of the picture, not to forget the few if brief appearances by others. Quality of acting keeps the film together above all else and despite its flaws. So I was quite very pleased with it during and immediately after viewing and some of the things one might call shortcomings or flaws didn't become immediately apparent to me (though they quite very much did to my girlfriend, who was quick to remind me of those). I haven't seen the play so maybe this will be an inaccurate impression as I can't compare but it feels as though little work has been put into the script to adapt it for camera and screen or whatever effort was made, it didn't quite manage to step out of the comfort zone of theatrical traditions, to build a cinematic identity of its own. You can tell as devices most often saved for theatrics creep into the film in manners that stick out where the lack of more convincing cinematic adaptations leave their traces. One such particular moment was of Parisian romanticism which I felt was lifted straight from a stage performance where it would fit right in and easily find resonance with the viewers but ended up rather disconnected and overblown in the cinematic context of the film. Likewise with introductory expositions and small editing touches reminiscent of use of prerecorded medium in theatre which didn't quite line up with the rest of the film and ended up feeling rather amateurish. To compare to other "Chamber Play" films, it is not as dramatically tense and conflict-driven as Twelve Angry Men or, say, filled with as much suspenseful characterization and camera-work as Der Untergang. The film doesn't concern itself with so much suspense and drama to progress the plot but with intelligent questions that aim to haunt and beg to be contemplated in a serene state of mind which, I find, is where the film attempted to be and could have been the strongest and is intellectually the most significant. That the quality of acting ended up as the strongest suit of the film, doing most of the heavy work to carry the film with all of its flaws sadly leaves it at a place short of being a classic. Then again, what do I know? (*: Fictionalized though still anchored in memoirs, apparently. For instance, you will find that a lot of moments from the film line up perfectly with the accounts of a particular article authored by a Kelly Bell, published online in August 19, 1996 by a World War II Magazine -src: http://goo.gl/KIFTi0 -, presumably both drawing from the 1965 novel "Is Paris Burning?" which I haven't read. -mind that the specific parallels between the film's script and the article will inevitably act as spoilers)


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