|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 84 min.|
|FSK:||From 12 years|
It's the night of August 24 on August 25, 1944: Allied troops are at the gates of Nazi occupied Paris. Adolf Hitler's orders are clear: there is only one clear victory or one all-destructive defeat. Either Paris remains in the hands of the German troops or it is completely razed to the ground. All preparations have been made and all important places - the bridges over the Seine, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower - are mined. General Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) should ensure that Hitler's order is executed. But the Allies are determined to prevent the city from being destroyed and many innocent people from losing their lives. The Swedish Consul General of Paris Raoul Nordling (André Dussollier) is to help prevent von Choltitz from obeying his orders. But can one man really manage alone to prevent a destruction of undreamt-of proportions?
With the filming of the play "Diplomacy" by Cyril Gély Volker Schlöndorff ("The Tin Drum") has created a small masterpiece. The drama, which is primarily based on dialogue, rarely leaves the headquarters of General von Choltitz at the Hotel Meurice in Paris. In addition, the events over a large part of the runtime are solely determined by two figures. The result is a stylistically intimate chamber play with a tremendous dramaturgical greatness. The brief glances that Choltitz and Nordling cast at Paris and the few scenes that take place outside the hotel give an idea of what is at stake that night. But only the intense nerve duel between the two main characters turns "Diplomacy" into a highly exciting psycho-crimic, which has become a big movie because of its small-scale staging.
Even though this nightly confrontation between the two real characters didn't really exist and the story is primarily fiction despite some proven facts, this doesn't really change the effect and above all the meaning of the film. For even if history is located at the end of the Second World War, "diplomacy" is an extremely topical subject that impressively shows how important direct dialogue is for resolving conflicts and how crucial it is to choose the right words and to engage with one's counterpart. This becomes so clear in the film because its great strength lies in dialogues. The script by Schlöndorff and Gély is intelligently written and, in addition to the many very serious and moving sequences of the long conversation, also has some surprisingly witty moments that allow the viewer a few small, tension-loosening laughs.
There are many dramas that are limited to a single location and thus leave the impression that they are better off on television than on the big screen. One could now think that this is also the case with "Diplomacy", especially since the film was produced in collaboration with various German and French broadcasting companies anyway. But the Kammerspiel doesn't seem out of place for a moment in the cinema. The mixture of captivating staging, captivating camera work and detailed equipment in conjunction with the story loosely raises the film above the level of a television game and therefore justifies the price of a cinema ticket. Anyone who appreciates sophisticated acting cinema and likes political thrillers that don't fight with weapons, but with words, shouldn't miss this outstanding film. Absolutely worth seeing!
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