Sunday, September 20, 2015

How to prevent a carnage: Diplomacy (Volker Schlöndorff, 2014)

Diplomacy is the kind of movie you might expect to find in the film schedule of one of those invaluable government-funded cultural organizations like the Alliance Française or the Goethe Institut that foster international education programs, promoting tolerance, peace and intercultural dialogue. A Franco-German co-production dedicated to the memory of American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, also a friend and former collaborator of the director, Volker Schlöndorff's latest is amongst other things a celebration of humanitarianism and transnational cooperation over belligerence and blind obedience. The film  whose original title itself is cross-boundary, "Diplomatie" being both a French and a German word  is a fictionalized account of how the destruction of Paris ordered by Hitler in 1944 was warded off thanks to intensive negotiations conducted over the course of a single night by the Nazi-appointed military governor of Paris Dietrich von Choltitz (played by Niels Arestrup) and the Swedish consul-general Raoul Nordling (André Dussolier).