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First effort by Jacques Rouffio,already with his collaborator (here also the novel's writer) Georges Conchon with whom he has made his most famous movies: " Sept Morts Sur Ordonnance " which put him on the map,"Le Sucre"...."La Passante Du Sans -Souci " ,probably his best work,was nevertheless a Joseph Kessel's novel,chosen by Romy Schneider (it was to be her last role)
For a first work, "L'Horizon " gets off the beaten track:"the deserter" ,Boris Vian's song(1959) was never broadcast on the radio till American folk group Peter Paul and Mary covered it in 1966 ,desertion was taboo ,a subject which was almost never broached,let alone conscientious objection .
The cast is very interesting:Jacques Perrin (who,with Schoendoerffer ,played parts diametrically opposed to this one),Macha Méril as a defiant girl,Monique Mélinand and silent age veteran René Dary.
1917:the times are changing;gone is the revengeful spirit of 1914;the soldiers are tired of an endless war;our hero is deferred on medical grounds while some others try to bribe the M.O..In spite of the Americans'arrival, a rebellious spirit is raising,which culminates in the final sequence,the strongest of the movie ,when the soldiers,about to come back to the front ,yell " send the shirkers,the dodgers!" ,and understand for a short while that only a collective revolt makes sense (whereas the individual desertion of Dave amounts to nothing);even on the train,a soldier goes mad after seeing the Gendarmes (French) charge them (French too).
Anyway ,seeing Antonin's cousin ,a living dead,soon going to the grave ,is enough to assess the pointlessness and the absurdity of war;Elisa,superbly played by Macha Méril,is a modern woman ,par excellence the suffragette ,who takes love over a rotten duty. However ,some warmongering die-hards are still speaking: the long speech over Jerome 's grave ;the meeting in Antonin's place ,where a would be patriot screams :(...) when France is still standing!-I go to bed ,says an embittered Antonin.
Extremely different from all that was made in the second half of the sixties,"L'Horizon" narrowly missed being censored .
Splendid cinematography by Raoul Coutard whose camera wanders across a moist land ;nice score by Serge Gainsbourg who used part of it for his famous song "Elisa" (which bears no real relation to the movie outside the name)
Like this?Try these.....
"Le Déserteur/Je T'Attendrai" (Leonide Moguy,1939)
"Histoire De Caporal" (Jean Baronnet ,1983)
"La Belle Vie" (Robert Enrico,1962)
and the most accursed movie of the whole French cinema:
"Tu Ne Tueras Point" (Claude Autant -Lara ,1961)
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