DIPLOMACY (Diplomatie) -- adapted by director Volker Schlöndorff and co-writer Cyril Gely (from the latter's stage play) -- gives us a fictionalized answer to why, toward the end of WWII in August of 1944, Paris wasn't burning. Adolf Hitler had planned the entire destruction of this glorious city if it appeared that Germany, whose troops still controlled Paris, was not after all going to win the war. (Back in 1966 French director René Clément gave us an all-star cast, both French and American, in a so-so documentary-style rendition of this famous non-event entitled Is Paris Burning?, but Schlöndorff's nifty, smaller-scale endeavor turns out to be the much better film.)
André Dussollier as the Consul and Niels Arestrup as the General -- could hardly be better (both performed the play on-stage, as well) and they light into the dialog with relish and aplomb, capturing the smallest nuances beautifully. Some of this dialog, as the Consul pleads with the General to think of what he will be destroying, is simply so glorious, so beautiful, that it will have you close to, even not in, tears for the love for the Paris that so many of us hold dear.
Jean Marc Roulot. shown center, above) explain what is going to happen and how Paris will be utterly destroyed is so convincing that we're shaken up simply by the verbal description. Also grandly staged are the beginning scenes at the hotel in which the German General is housed, and what happens when word of its evacuation runs rampant.
Robert Stadlober, above, who plays a younger German Lieutenant.)
Zeitgeist Films, opens this coming Wednesday, October 15, in New York City exclusively at Film Forum, an in the Los Angele area on November 7 at Laemmle's Royal, Playhouse 7 and Town Center 5. Over the weeks and months to come, the film will play cities across the country. To see all currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters, click here, and then scroll down to WHERE TO SEE DIPLOMACY, and then use the right-hand scroll bar to view all showings, organized by state.