Country: France / Germany
Movie Review: “Diplomacy” is a classic film, in the true sense of the word, directed by a classic filmmaker, Volker Schlondorff, who got known mostly through his consistent war movies from the 60’s and 70’s, cases of “Young Torless”, “Coup de Grâce” or “The Tin Drum”. “Diplomacy” gives continuity to his preferred theme of WWII, being a movie of words and not so much of action. This doesn’t mean that the film is boring. It depicts the negotiations and relationship between General Dietrich von Choltitz, military governor of Paris during the last days of German occupation, and Raoul Nordling, a French-born Swedish businessman and diplomat, who had a fundamental role to maintain Paris intact. With the Nazi regime in decadence, von Cholitz had orders from Hitler to leave Paris in rubble, planning the destruction of several landmarks such as bridges, the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame. Sick but determined, he seemed to be a stubborn, fearless man who is unable to surrender. Nordling’s mission is simply trying to persuade him to save ‘the city of light’. Technically strong and exhibiting appealing scenarios, it was rewarding to watch two men with different opinions and in antagonistic positions respecting each other, where the word diplomacy fits like a glove. Indeed, the two main actors, Niels Arestrup and André Dussollier, keep the film well alive. Difficult moral choices are in the base of “Diplomacy” whose adaptation from Cyril Gely’s play of the same name, even if not astonishing, was elucidative, earnest and interesting to follow.