Le Petit Soldat

1963

Drama / War

32
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 5,895

Synopsis


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May 28, 2020

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
807.89 MB
1280*720
French 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
88 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.47 GB
1920×1080
French 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
88 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by wjfickling 8 / 10 / 10

Good, but not greatest, Godard

I just saw this film for the first time on TCM. I was appalled to see that there is no video available, nor has Maltin written a summary. Now I regret not having taped it, and hope it will be shown again. This film, Godard's second at feature-length, was made in 1960. It was subsequently banned by the French government and not commercially released until 1963, when the war in Algeria was over and Algeria had gained its independence. It is sometimes difficult to recall, 41 years after the fact, that the Algerian conflict was then tearing France apart and, had anyone but a WWII hearing like De Gaulle been in charge, probably would have led to civil war. The lead character is a somewhat reluctant and half-hearted member of a right wing terrorist group, opposing Algerian independence, planning assassinations and tortures of members of left wing terrorist groups supporting Algerian independence. Godard demonstrates that there is really no difference between the two, that they are both morally bankrupt and ultimately nihilistic. Members of both groups are shown with remarkable objectivity--remarkable if you know Godard's own political leanings, which were far to the left, Maoist in fact. Stylistically the film has a documentary, cinema verite feel. Godard used hand held cameras decades before they came into vogue. The characters seem real, so much so that, except for the beautiful Anna Karina, it is necessary to remind oneself that these are actors. By the way, probably very few viewers, except those who may have been in France at that time, will know the significance of a scene where, several times in succession, several cars blow their horns "ta ta tum, tum tum." That was a very public code that existed in France at the time and stood for "Algerie Francaise," or. loosely, "Keep Algeria French." A very topical film.

Reviewed by enicholson 6 / 10 / 10

Godard's underrated classic

This film isn't even in release on video in the U.S. and it's not in Maltin's book. Yet it is among Godard's best films. Banned on it's initial release in France because of it's treatment of the Algerian war, this film has yet to receive the attention it deserves. First of all, it is essential viewing for any fans of Godard if for no other reason because it's is his second feature film. Unlike BREATHLESS, which is partly noted as being such a seminal film due to its fearless departure in style and disregard for any convention of the "well-made" film, LE PETIT SOLDAT shows Godard working with a more straightforward verite approach. BREATHLESS' essence is irony and iconoclasm in terms of character, narrative, editing, filmmaking philosophy etc. With LE PETIT SOLDAT, however, Godard uses the gangster genre rather sincerely in order to relate a political morality tale. The film has several of Godard's characteristic visual trademarks: handheld verite immediacy, many varieties of city location shots (in this case Geneva) and many shots of Anna Karina's beautiful face. Also, it has the distinctive poetic Godard voice-overs, which in this film represent the lead character's (Bruno) interior thoughts. In short, stylistically, it is typical of Godard's greatest poetic gifts as a filmmaker, with the added advantage of a relatively conventional narrative. In terms of the plot, I only want to say the film is about a right wing spy, when ordered to assassinate an operative assisting the Algerians, becomes involved with a beautiful woman also assisting them. I'll let you see the rest. As I said above, Godard treats the gangster genre with respect and uses it sincerely at least in terms of narrative style. Visually, it's all Godard -- roving shots from cars, moody nighttime shots of city lights and letters, handheld close-ups, verite action, characters photographing other characters, etc. In terms of content, while we don't get the "political" Godard in BREATHLESS, in LE PETIT SOLDAT the political Godard emerges, and with great urgency and energy. This film was banned in France, so it must have seemed extraordinarily effective, politically, upon its release. But since this was only Godard's second film, there was probably not too much controversy (though I'm not sure) surrounding its censorship. In a way, this film is Godard's "Hamlet." At issue for much of the film is whether for Bruno (the protagonist)has "to be or not to be." Should one act or not? But also, Bruno must not only decide if he should act, but for whom -- the right or the left, or simply for himself. Bruno is conscientious, but he is also a French patriot. His choice, and its process, is a compelling one. Outside this political/moral crisis is early Godard's treatment of love, acting, beauty, the image, authority and loss. There is also a torture scene in this film that is shocking, not because it is gruesome, but because of Godard's natural immediacy and presence as a director. It feels so real. It has some weaknesses associated with Godard, mainly a somewhat simplistic and schematic approach to politics and a tendency for characters (mainly Bruno) to voice their ideas and impressions in a way that is extraneous to the rest of the film. But this is Godard, and in his hands these qualities (at least in this film) feel like strengths rather than weaknesses. There is a monologue by Bruno which is like a five minute rant. Some may find it overbearing and undramatic. I loved it. This is among the most romantic of Godard's films. Bruno is all intensity and rebellion. In his temperament he is similar to Eddie Constantine's character in ALPHAVILLE. Enough is enough. I've only seen about six or seven Godard films (all from the 1960's), and because I like his more directly political ones the most, this one is my favorite along with WEEKEND, though I really liked MY LIFE TO LIVE as well. I heartily recommend it, if you can find it.

Reviewed by JKFriz 6 / 10 / 10

Inches from documentary

In the past couple of weeks, I've been on a Godard kick where I've seen "Alphaville", "My Life to Live" and "Breathless", along with "Le Petit Soldat." I don't think that it reflects all that badly on the latter movie to say that it's not really in a league with the first three, all of which are near-masterpieces at the very least. This was Godard's first feature film made after "Breathless", and you can see him straining to give "Le Petit Soldat" a different feel - something where the stakes are a little higher, something more engaged with the political realities and real ethics of the world. One might conclude that this concrete engagement with politics isn't really Jean-Luc's cup of tea. It's telling that the best scene, Bruno's long closing monologue at the end of the film, is as involved with art and abstraction as it is with the milieu of the Algerian conflict around which the film centers itself. The camera-work isn't as radical as some of Godard's other films, and his locations in Geneva and Zurich don't provide him with as much eye candy as his native Paris. Even more so than other early Godard films, it has the feel of a documentary. In this case, the documentary is a combination between a piece of political agitation and a seminar on individual freedom with respect to modern politics. While the typical doomed Godardian hero spends most of his or her time in desperate circumstances, they frequently continue living in blithe ignorance of the fate that awaits them, spending their time in bed with one another or in pseudo-philosophical conversation. Bruno, the protagonist of "Le Petit Soldat", is different. The sense of desperation within him is palpable; Bruno is increasingly hemmed in by competing French and Algerian ideologies that make no sense to him, but nevertheless exercise more and more control over his freedom as the movie progresses. The much-discussed torture scene is surprisingly long and effective. Torture, while no less in vogue now than it was in the early '60s, doesn't get much screen time these days. What Godard does so well is show the banality of the torturers, who go about their work with half-hearted second-hand assertions about what is necessary in times like these.

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