In the near future, leftist writer Paula goes from Paris to the French town of Atlantic-Cité when she learns of the death of a former colleague and lover, Richard P. Is she there to ... See full summary »
During the Algerian war for independence from France, a young Frenchman living in Geneva who belongs to a right-wing terrorist group and a young woman who belongs to a left-wing terrorist group meet and fall in love. Complications ensue when the man is suspected by the members of his terrorist group of being a double agent.Written by
The film was actually completed in 1960, and was Jean-Luc Godard's second film after Breathless (1960). It was shelved for three years by the French censors. See more »
Maybe men talk incessantly, as if searching for gold in their quest for the truth. But instead of digging in riverbeds, they dig deep in their thoughts. They cast aside all the worthless words and they end up with just one, one single golden word: silence.
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seems to go by quicker than it does, but a lot goes on in that time
I've watched and re-watched the beginning sections, sometimes 5 minutes or sometimes up to 30, of many of Godard's films, and then either got too tired or just wasn't sure I could get through it all at the time. Sometimes it was because the material gets difficult and even egregious to what cinema, in concept, form, execution, ideas, amounts to. And sometimes there's also some very good stuff to savor too, as Godard thumbs his nose and makes new rules to break for himself. Le Petit Soldat, really his 2nd film after Breathless but released later, happens to carry with it, as was the case with Les Carabiniers, the political intent of his later films but with a brisker, more accessible avant-garde style to match the semantics. He also still has the energy going on full-throttle, and there are even moments where the jump-cuts start to feel even more exhilarating than one might've thought in Breathless. And at 80 minutes it says what it has to and exits, but while around leaves many memorable bits in its wake, some small like when Bruno (Michel Subor) rushes back to make a 'bet' by asking Anna Karina's Veronica Dreyer to move her hair around for him. It's a slight aside that's really wonderful, playful whimsy in a film that really doesn't have time for it. Another memorable moment is when Bruno is tortured, with the water crashing down on his head underneath the black mask.
There's also some superb passages put into play, even if said multiple viewings are needed to grasp all of the method to what Godard is after in both the text and the look of the picture. As he's into extremes in style- either very fast in motion, skipping around narrative here and there like jump-rope, or deliberate and almost crude in its attention to length of shots and cutaways and reactions- there's also some extremes to deal with in the narrative too, the content. While it's not as deliriously nutty and experimental as Pierrot le Fou, with the political agenda there more open to interpretation, Le Petit Soldat is pretty serious stuff, with the Algiers topics and spy moments hot-button issues that Godard definitely cares about. What does it mean to be sort of wary of being a terrorist? Does one really commit to the allegiance or back down, and for what reason? Is it also impacted via the other side, who may be no more moral than his own? I still need to see this again some other time, if not just for the message pointers, then for the oddball tautness of the direction.
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