The Camp Followers (1965)
"Le soldatesse" (original title)

 |  Drama, War  |  4 November 1965 (Italy)
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In WWII, Lieut. Martino and his men are assigned to lead a group of prostitutes through the mountainous ways to serve in brothels for Italian soldiers in Albania.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marie Laforêt ...
Ten.Gaetano Martino
Mario Adorf ...
Valeria Moriconi ...
Aleksandar Gavric ...
Alessi (as Aca Gavric)
Rossana Di Rocco ...
Panaiota, Toula's sister
Milena Dravic ...
Guido Alberti ...
Mila Stanic
Alenka Rancic
Mila Contini
Dragutin Pelba
Jelena Zigon


In WWII, Lieut. Martino and his men are assigned to lead a group of prostitutes through the mountainous ways to serve in brothels for Italian soldiers in Albania.

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Drama | War




Release Date:

4 November 1965 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Camp Followers  »

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Italian censorship visa # 45325delivered on 17-7-1965. See more »

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User Reviews

Anna Karina in Zurlini's great 1965 neo-realist masterpiece
9 February 2001 | by (Northridge, CA) – See all my reviews

This almost Dreyer-like deeply poetic film about 'faces' is one of the most brilliant of the ‘60s and one of the most inexplicably neglected and forgotten. I'd rank this as Zurlini's 2nd greatest achievement after the awe-inspiring existentialist technicolor masterpiece `Family Diary' starring Marcello Mastroianni. Zurlini's deliberate use of a slightly over-the-top melodramatic style of acting within a basically neo-realist approach that makes room for Antonioni-like meditative takes, allows him to make his points in an ‘extra-real' and poetic zone where things are more symbolically flexible, dreamlike and fluid, closer to myth. It's a very difficult and fragile intuitive balancing act and sometimes, as in the cases of `Violent Summer' and `Girl With The Suitcase' not much more than a gorgeously photographed melodrama results. But the balance is definitely right on "Le Soldattese," "The Professor," and "Black Jesus."

Shot almost entirely on location in Greece in an awesome deep-focus newreel-documentary style black-and-white (with the emphasis on the blacks), `Le Soldattesse' is the story a group of prostitutes that have been recruited for the military brothels of Italian soldiers during WW II, and the long truck ride they take trying to get to their destinations through a war-torn mountainous area. Three military men of different rank have the job of taking them through, and the relationships they develop with the girls on this trip is the real subject matter of the film. Sublimely beautiful Sixties New-Wave icon Anna Karina plays the most cheerful of the ladies of leisure but there are no real leads in the film, all 5 or 6 of the main characters are given equal screen time and Zurlini never falters once as he draws poetic and hilarous performances full of insights from each character. On a higher level "Le Soldattese" becomes a deep examination of one relatively minor but revealing absurdity (prostitutes being carried to brothels in a war-torn area to boost troop morale) overlapping the bigger, related absurdity of the war itself and Mussolini-era fascism.

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