Friday, 10 October 2014

La Diplomatie (4/5, Good)

Paris,1944. The end of the second World War II is near and the Allies are approaching Paris.  Dictator Adolf Hitler gives orders to wipe out with most famous monuments of Paris whilst the city is still under Nazi control. German general Dietrich Von Choltitz has to give the order, but before that, Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling confronts him in order to stop him. 

Adapted from a play (written by Cyril Gély),film director Schlondorff maintains many elements: a minimal set (the story occurs in a hotel suite in Paris) and drama is supported by  two incredible actors (André Dussolier and Niels Arestrup). The predominance of tension between these two characters and the dramatic background of an Europe in ruines makes this film an interesting experience. 

It almost seems that director Schlondorff wanted to maintain cinematographic elements at its low to highlight the two great actors and so that the viewer could focus only on them. Dialogues are intense and reflect one of the first victims of any war: the identity as a human being. In such chaotic context, people are lost and don't know who they are. Cities and monuments are elements that help to built an individual and collective identity. Nazis understood that and wanted to wipe out Paris to discourage the Allies and the Resistance.

Historically, this meeting never took place but the plans of destroying Paris are accurate. This story mirrors the conflict for Nazis themselves for destroying such an iconic city. How could they destroy Notre-Dame De Paris, la Tour Eiffel? An interesting aspect which the script plays with are the stereotypes: the Swedish diplomat seems a reasonable and moderate person whilst the Nazi is a cold man who only obey orders. However, we see their true colors throughout time. No one is purely evil or purely good, human beings are complex and contradictory.


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