ⓘ Diplomacy (2014 film)

                                     

ⓘ Diplomacy (2014 film)

Diplomacy is a 2014 Franco-German historical drama film directed by Volker Schlondorff and adapted from the play Diplomatie by Cyril Gely. The film premiered at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival on 12 February 2014. It was also screened at the Telluride Film Festival in August 2014. It won the Cesar Award for Best Adaptation at the 40th Cesar Awards.

                                     

1. Plot summary

As the Allied Forces move toward Paris, Adolf Hitler commands General Dietrich von Choltitz to destroy the city. Choltitz sends a team to demolish the citys famous landmarks and to overflow the Seine, led by Lieutenant Hegger and advised by a captured Parisian engineer named M. Lanvin. The landmarks being targeted include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde and Notre Dame de Paris.

A Swedish diplomat named Raoul Nordling sneaks into the generals office in the Hotel Meurice by means of a secret passageway. He points out the loss of innocent lives if the demolition goes through, and asks the general not to do it. The general is not swayed.

Parisians start to revolt against the German patrols. Fighting fills the streets. Choltitz reveals that the Nazi government has a standing order to punish the officers families. Nordling tries to downplay its significance, but Choltitz points out that it was enacted right as he was promoted, meaning that Hitler has his eyes on Choltitz.

Nordling offers the chance for the French Resistance to try to evacuate Choltitzs family. He confesses that he would not be able to choose between saving his family and saving Paris, were he in Choltitzs position. However, if he chooses Paris, the world will remember him as a hero. Choltitz relents and cancels the demolition. Lt Hegger tries to trigger it anyway, but is shot by Lanvin.

After the fall of Nazi Germany, Choltitz spends two years in prison for his earlier actions during the Siege of Sevastopol. Nordling is awarded a medal for his persuasion of Choltitz in Paris, but he passes it over to Choltitz, recognizing him as the real hero.

                                     

2. Cast

  • Burghart KlauSner as Hauptmann Werner Ebernach
  • Charlie Nelson as the concierge
  • Andre Dussollier as Raoul Nordling
  • Robert Stadlober as Leutnant Bressensdorf
  • Niels Arestrup as General von Choltitz
  • Stefan Wilkening as Unteroffizier Mayer
  • Jean-Marc Roulot as Jacques Lanvin
  • Thomas Arnold as Leutnant Hegger
                                     

3. Critical reception

The movie was well received by the critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 93% of 45 critics gave the film a positive review, for an average rating of 7.4/10. The sites consensus states that "For filmgoers who value character development and smart dialogue over plot, Diplomacy yields rich, powerfully acted rewards."

Brenda Benthien of kinocritics.com judged the "theatrical tour-de-force" was "a Valentine to Schlondorff’s beloved Paris".

                                     
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