In France in the darkest days of the Great War Camille receives an alarming letter from her soldier boyfriend. Disguising herself as a man she sets off to try and find him. As she lives ...
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In France in the darkest days of the Great War Camille receives an alarming letter from her soldier boyfriend. Disguising herself as a man she sets off to try and find him. As she lives near the Western Fromt she hooks up with a passing group of French soldiers without too much trouble. But there's something a bit odd about these stragglers, and it's not just their habit of bursting into song at every opportunity.Written by
I'd just finished reading J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories, when I watched this movie, and they seemed to make a good pair. This is one of the most unusual war movies I've ever seen. There's no war/battle action at all! Even more so, the soldiers seem to have been wandering around, aimlessly, for years and years, in a desperate attempt to deal with their experiences in The Great War. Trying to make sense of the horror, by telling each other stories of the mythical Atlantis and singing songs. It's hard forgetting the pain and horrors they endured though (and that's what made me think of Salinger's depressed post war heroes). The group of soldiers traveling through endless dark-green and misty blue woods (apparently without ever reaching a village) is joined by a woman, played by Sylvie Testud, posing as a young boy, Jean d'Arc-style. For a long time it seems her secret will never be revealed, which fits the mood of the movie. The others are too lifeless (spiritless even) to notice she's a woman, even when they are dressing her wounds. Another good example of the beautiful alienation of this movie already takes place in the first scene. We see Sylvie Testud, standing on a hill close to her home, staring in the distance, hoping to see the front line of the War probably hundreds of kilometers away. (as if such a thing was possible, like a miracle). The woman receives bad news in a letter, and starts her journey, eventually meeting the soldiers, who grumblingly let her join their group (even though the woman pays a 'handy' price). The soldiers almost immediately tell her she can never really become one of them, and never does she join the group in their musical intermezzos. Yes, there are a handful of sixties influenced psych-folk songs, played by the soldiers on self-built instruments (even a piano, God knows where that came from). And why not? Everything is possible. Every time they play a new song, the mood seems to gets even sadder and more beautiful. Fine movie.
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