Les Carabiniers

  • 1963
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, War

Jean-Luc Godard's fifth film is an ultraimpersonal exercise on the subject of war. A pair of soldiers (Albert Juross and Marino Mase) are called up to fight for the king. Promised great riches in return for their soldiering, they leave their wives and set off, sending their spouses letters detailing their activities--saluting the Statue of Liberty, endlessly...read more

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Jean-Luc Godard's fifth film is an ultraimpersonal exercise on the subject of war. A pair of soldiers (Albert Juross and Marino Mase) are called up to fight for the king. Promised great riches in return for their soldiering, they leave their wives and set off, sending their spouses

letters detailing their activities--saluting the Statue of Liberty, endlessly executing a woman, buying a Masarati, going to the cinema. Back home, they display their great conquests: a massive collection of postcards of various sites, including the Grand Canyon, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State

Building, and the Egyptian pyramids. But the men wind up on the wrong end of the war, go in search of the king to collect their booty, and are gunned down. LES CARABINIERS was a tremendous box-office and critical bomb, and for the first hour it is a difficult viewing experience, with Godard going

to great lengths to develop unsympathetic characters and distance the audience from the on-screen proceedings. He purposely shot the film on a grainy film stock, then made it even grainier in the processing, yielding an old-newsreel effect and even incorporating actual stock footage into the final

film. After the first hour, however, comes a remarkable Eisensteinian montage, consisting of 12 minutes of "conquests"--the postcard sequence. In LES CARABINIERS, Godard succeeded in portraying war as an ugly and ignoble atrocity in a manner entirely different from what he has called "the

beautiful Zanuckian style." If LES CARABINIERS cannot be called a compelling dramatic work, the film represents a liberating step beyond cinematic convention. The film was released in the US in 1968. (In French; English subtitles.)

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Jean-Luc Godard's fifth film is an ultraimpersonal exercise on the subject of war. A pair of soldiers (Albert Juross and Marino Mase) are called up to fight for the king. Promised great riches in return for their soldiering, they leave their wives and set… (more)

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