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Diplomacy (Paris yo, Eien Ni)
Rating
Director Volker Schlondorff
Language French, German (subtitled in Japanese)
Opens March 7

One of the miracles of World War II was the preservation of Paris. In 1944, as the Allies drew close, “the City of Light” only narrowly missed being totally demolished by the Nazis.

“Diplomacy” (released in France as “Diplomatie”) is an engrossing, fist-clenching film depicting the talks that went down between Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) — the military German governor of Paris — and Swedish consul-general Raoul Nordling (Andre Dussollier). Surprisingly, most of the French officials under Germany’s thumb were resigned to having their city burned to cinders, but Nordling snuck into the German governor’s hotel room in the dead of night in a desperate attempt to talk him out of the plan. The two men converse and argue, rage and splutter, far into the next morning.

Directed by Germany’s Volker Schlondorff (“The Tin Drum”), the film, adapted from a Cyril Gely play, draws amazingly concentrated performances from Arestrup and Dussollier. The movie may not be 100-percent historically accurate but the emotions ring true. In the end, there’s an immense sense of gratitude for the fact we’ve still got Paris.

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