Wednesday, December 24, 2008


A few years ago, I wrote one of my longest movie reviews for an anti-war film from France called "Joyeux Noel." The majority of this film takes place between December 24-26 in 1914, during World War I. I thought so much of this film that I named it my #1 best film back in 2005.

I was trying to find a film for Christmas Eve that was different. We have all heard the stories about the child who was born on this day and how he would be the savior of the world. I them remembered this film and how men from both sides of this war remembered him and honored him. Please welcome to my Christmas Eve film reviewJoyeux Noel

If you have never read my original review please do so now. I am going to expand on the review more and show how I dealt with a hatred that I had been taught courtesy of the US Army.

It has been 3 years since I first did the review of this film and as of today, it is my second all time favorite film from France. For the majority of my life I have hated anything to do with France. So, while I was watching this movie, It dawned on me that, maybe, I should watch more French Films, and 3 years later I have and I've even liked a few of them.

Like I stated in the earlier review, I am a former US Army Soldier. I was taught to shoot at "Little Ivan's" (Nickname for Russian Soldiers) and from about age 6, was taught to hate this enemy of God. As I also said in the review, I had a deep hatred of this enemy, so much that when, on the rare occasions, that a Russian Soldier would have to come to Ft. Sill, I wanted then to start anything so I could kill one of them and proudly be able to say that, "I killed a commie for my mommy."

But something has happened to me with that over the last few years and that part of me that wanted to kill has been taken away. I actually met some people from Russia that were not soldiers. They were just normal people here, in Korea, trying to get an MBA or teaching with me at Woosong University. I saw no hatred towards me from them and I soon started to like the fact that I drank and ate dinner with my new Russian friends.

What finally helped me to overcome the majority of what the Army had taught me about the Russians happened during the Woosong Fall Semester 2008 When I taught a class with 4-6 Russian students in it.

The first day that I taught this class, I could not believe that I was actually hearing Russian. I quickly reminded myself that, this is Korea. I was a solid Cold-War Warrior and here I was teaching Russian students. During the introductions I told the students of my past with the US Army and how I was trained to shoot the enemy. I left class that day not really sure how in the heck to deal with my lingering hatred of Russia.

I got to know my Russian Student's. The 1 male student in my class loves the NBA, rap music and when I introduced him to The Dave Chappelle Show, He loved it. I also taught 3 Russian females in this same class. When the Text Book asked them to talk about their likes and dislikes, I found out that if you change a few words here and their, I could have been listening to College students have these exact same conversations at my old university. I heard the same hope and dreams from these students that I had heard from students from Korea, Japan, Germany and the USA. As I was listening to them, this movie kept flashing into my mind, I thought that I saw hate but instead all I saw were students seeking knowledge. It was a very humbling experience for me.

What I have been recently thinking about this film after I rewatched it for this review, was the opening moments of this film. As I stated in the earlier review. I saw 3 children, just like I was at their age, taking in 3 different languages of how they need to kill the enemy to protect their version of a "Fatherland." I then cringed with horror all of the sides of this war cheered when the deceleration of war was announced. I still to this day, bow my head at that part of the movie. Hell is being unleashed and these fools are cheering for it.

I still feel about this film as I wrote back in my earlier review, so I wont say much more about it. Golda Meir once said, “We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” this films shows that, even for a few moment in time, peace is possible. But if we keep to our hatred, in the end that all that we will have left. What possible good can come from that?

Please enjoy a music video from "Joyeux Noel" and everybody have a nice Christmas Eve and please let's be kind to one another.

Happy Birthday Dad. We still miss you.

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