Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

JLG is very liberal.

Oh how I love watching a film by Godard. From Bande a Parte to Le Mepris his styles and content are always beautifully in synch or amazingly dissonant. Les Carabiniers has left me a little puzzled, though. As I read about the film now, I am told that it is Godard's black comedy. And while yes there are classic Godard bad joke touches, especially the magazine underwear scene, the film is more sad than anything. The sequence with the spoils of war, the photos, are not a scene of escalating hilarity, they are in fact the tragedy of lost promises that all the bourgeois make to the poor.

The writing and performances are all top notch, and the individual tableaux are incredibly effective. Albert Juross, as the younger of the two brothers sent to war, is quite wonderful in his almost naive terrorizing, and Odile Geoffroy leaves a major impact in her scene, the best in the film.

Godard's camera is also as superb as is normal. Though without the self consciously cool shots of Breathless or My Life to Live, Les Carabiniers contains stark war imagery that communicates to the experience as well as any film extant. The fireworks, shown in negative near the end of the film, is one of the great Godard images and one of the most haunting I have seen.

They convey all you need to know about the true victims in any war.

Then again, maybe I'm not confused at all by this film. With all of Godard's art there is an element of the viewer constructed narrative. He wears his Brecht on his sleeve. And with Les Carabiners, he seems to me to be hiding his playful side, buried much more in his second brush with the political filmmaking that would take up much of his life.

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