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|Index||24 reviews in total|
Carabiniers, Les (1963)
* (out of 4)
Um, okay. Jean-Luc Godard film about two farmers who are picked by the King to join the war. The two aren't that interested at first but soon become very interested when they're promised that they can rape, murder, steal from and torture anyone they please since "that's what war is all about". I've seen plenty of anti-war film but there's no doubt this is the worst of the bunch. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this film is directed well since there's no way in hell, not even Ed Wood, could have made a film like this without it being on purpose. I wasn't shocked to learn that this film was bashed and bombed when it was first released in France only to gain popularity four years later in America. With all the anti-Vietnam stuff going on there's no wonder they ate this film up. The whole message was just downright stupid and if it was meant as satire then it didn't come off too well. The only nice scene is one where one of the soldiers goes to the movies for the first time. I wouldn't even call this thing technically well made like the previous film I watched. Compared to Paths of Glory this sucker is on the level of an Ed Wood film.
If someone were to make a parody of the stereotypical French New Wave
of the 1960's, Les Carabiniers would be it. I've read Godard has this
supposedly great sense of irony, but I think he was dead serious with
piece of garbage.
The film was on TCM last night, so I figured, hey it's Godard, I'll broaden my cinematic resume. I shouldn't have bothered. The badly overdubbed soundtrack, the cliched narration, the dumb poetry reading, the ham-fisted anti-war polemics, it was all there. The scene where the younger soldier sees a movie for the first time is quite funny, but the rest of the movie is interminable. The scene where the two soldiers return home with thousands of postcards for their wives (girlfriends, sisters?) seemed to take an hour. Godard's point is as follows: young people are duped into fighting wars by the government telling them they can steal and plunder the world, but in the end you wind up with nothing. Deep, real deep Jean.
My rating, 3/10. For the cinefiles out there, see Godard's "Breathless" and then check Godard off your list and move on to someone else.
That this movie got a 6.8 on the IMDB rating scale astounds me. That its audiences were expected to pay to see it and that it was thought worthy of being re-issued on dvd astounds me. Whatever points it was trying to make got lost in the what I found to be the ugliness of the film-making. Jean-Luc Godard, je vous accuse.
I had thought Tomb Raider was the worst movie I'd see all year until
this. The descriptions in the other comments are probably sufficient to
describe whatever exists of the "plot." All of the scenes are
absurd, although without the kind of effect this technique has in, say,
Many of the scenes are painfully long without meaning, and feel like filler, which is surprising given that the movie is allegedly short. The worst instance of this comes towards the end, with the 20 minute sequence of laying down postcards one at a time in front of the camera, with a voice-over saying "Boat, airplane, bicycle...." The humor of the situation, and the attempt to poke fun at capitalism, is effective for the first minute or so, and very obvious, but the rest is just unwatchable.
Next, the acting is awful. The main characters are consistent, if boringly one-sided, but many of the characters they interact with performed so poorly it distracts from the film. In one scene where some prisoners are being shot, there is a two to three second lapse between when the gun goes off, and when the girl being shot (about 15 feet away from the gun) jumps/jolts as if she'd just been shot, and then slumps. It's hard to believe that this sort of stuff was intentional, as Godard was clearly trying to make a political statement, not an Ace Ventura slapstick comedy, although in instances it unwittingly gets closer to the latter.
The editing is what really got me though. The pathetic use of stock footage makes Ed Wood look impressive. The attempts to merge the pictures of a small handful of people running, supposedly in battle, with stock footage shots of tanks and planes, felt like a Saturday Night Live skit spoofing the stock footage. And the overuse of stock footage reminded me of the infamous B-movie "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster" with endless collages of stock footage, interspersed with shots of 3 or 4 people and a cardboard-looking tank. The worst example, and completely unexcusable, is a scene where the star pulls the hat off of a girl who has ambushed him, and then the film cuts to a close-up of the girl's head -- and the hat's back on her! It's like Godard wasn't even trying to make a decent film.
In the end, I don't think the film got beyond an unsophisticated grunt "War is stupid, capitalism is stupid." Whatever cheerleading pop-culture value the film may have had during it's time, today it's an utter waste of a movie, with an inexcusable plot, wooden and boring characters, awful acting, and editing that would get an F in a basic film 101 class.
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