Les Carabiniers (1967)
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Les Carabiniers (The Soldiers) was the fifth feature-length effort of director Jean-Luc Godard. Marino Mase and Albert Juross play two soldiers of an unnamed army fighting an unspecified war. Throughout their tour of duty, Mase and Juross send their wives long, loving letters detailing their various victories: these letters are accompanied by postcards of such strategic military targets as the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids. When their army loses, Mase and Juross pay a visit to their king to collect their salaries, only to be shot down like dogs. Reportedly made as an "answer" to Hollywood's D-Day epic The Longest Day (1963), Les Carabiniers depicts warfare as a filthy enterprise fueled by lies and treachery. Deliberately confusing and misleading throughout, the film died at the box office in 1963; it might play better with today's MTV-weaned moviegoers, who have grown accustomed to non sequitur scenes and nonlinear plotlines. … More
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Critic Reviews for Les Carabiniers
Les Carabiniers refuses to make it easy on the audience, avoiding genre conventions at all costs, and daring us to consider that the real horror of war is the idea that anyone could find it rewarding, never mind exciting or adventurous.
The problem is not with Godard's politics, but with the purposeful ugliness of the film ... .
This offhand exercise, made back in 1962 by one of the kings of the then New Wave, popped up early last night at the festival, for absolutely no discernible reason.
Godard has chosen a subject on which to exercise his style. The result is one of his most successful films, and, incidentally, one easier to understand and enjoy than his later work.
Jean-Luc Godard set out in 1963 to deliberately make a war film that would be neither dramatically involving nor formally compelling -- and he succeeded so brilliantly that the film was seen as a disaster.
Audience Reviews for Les Carabiniers
A grim farce on war in general. It's brutality, uselessness and irreasonable nature.
When two men are approached by the military to join the causes of war, they are promised great rewards and fame. Hence, they join the armed forces. What follows is a collection of scenes dealing with war in general and the way soldiers mindlessly follow their orders.
The brutality of "The Riflemen" is not of a graphic nature - except for a few stills of war victims - it is rather the grotesque way how the war is presented. The soldiers are portraited as dumb and silly men who "play" war, not caring about casualties and politics at all. The "conflict" in the movie is not specified, making this picture an allegory of war in general.
Throughout the move, letters from actual soldiers are quoted.
The movie is not for the lighthearted and it is certainly not "entertaining" in the classic sense of American cinema. But it is a forceful rant against war and how it is absolutely dull, pretentious and useless, which is - as well all know - nothing but the truth.
"Can we burn women ?"
"Can we go into a restaurant. And not pay?"
"Yes. That's war."
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