Friday, August 24, 2012

Les Carabiniers

Based on the play I Caribinieri by Benjamino Joppolo, Les Carabiniers (The Carabineers) is the story of two farmers who are recruited to go to war as they write their exploits to their wives. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard and screenplay by Godard and Jean Gruault with contributions from Roberto Rossellini, the film is an exploration into the fallacy of war and the false promises it brings to its men. Starring Marino Mase, Albert Juross, Catherine Ribeiro, and Genevieve Galea. Les Carabiniers is a dark yet whimsical war film from Jean-Luc Godard.

The film is essentially the story about these two men named Ulysses (Marino Mase) and Michelangelo (Albert Juross) who are met by soldiers who tells them that their king wants them to go to war with promises of riches and such. At war, they would have many strange encounters as they write their exploits to their respective wives in Venus (Catherine Ribeiro) and Cleopatra (Genevieve Galea) who are waiting for these riches. Once they return from war, the men would present their wives with a taste of what they could get only for everyone to realize the fallacy that is war.

The screenplay explores the idea of war where these two men from very rural backgrounds are fooled into the idea of serving their king with these false promises. Though the men don’t encounter the horrors of war from their own perspective, what they do in war would really show how naïve they by giving in to these false promises where they will kill anyone for the sake of riches. Even innocent people or those who claim to be allies as it reveals in the third act that everything they fought for really comes down to nothing.

Jean-Luc Godard’s direction is very stylish in the way he presents the film as he does a lot of his shooting on locations where it seems like a war is actually happening. With the use of sound effects and stock footage, Godard creates a film where he plays off the idea that he’s making a low-budget war film that is shot in the streets and in the fields around France. With scenes that are played with a sense of dark humor that includes a very grim execution scene, Godard definitely has something to say in the idea of war. With some stylish close-ups, zany compositions, and other camera tricks, Godard definitely aims to create a film that is a farce on war. Overall, Godard creates a very engaging yet provocative film about the fallacy of war.

Cinematographer Raoul Coutard does excellent work with the film‘s black-and-white photography to play out the idea of war with some gorgeous exterior shots in the film‘s various locations. Editors Agnes Guillemot and Lila Lakshmanan do brilliant work with the editing by utilizing jump-cuts and other stylistic cuts to play out the sense of whimsy and dark humor. Production designer Jean-Jacques Fabre does terrific work with the minimal set pieces such as the home the four central characters live in. The sound work of Jacques Maumont and Hortion is incredible for the atmosphere that is created from the use of sound effects to create a tense feel for some of the film‘s war scenes. The film’s music by Philippe Arthuys is wonderful for its whimsical charm from the use of organ-driven music to the sound of drum cadences to play out the idea of war.

The film’s small but superb ensemble cast includes appearances from Barbet Schroeder as a car salesman and Odile Geoffroy as a Communist girl. Catherine Ribeiro and Genevieve Galea are wonderful as the wives of the two men who are both hoping for riches as they’re unaware of the charade that’s being played around them. Finally, there’s Marino Mase and Albert Juross in marvelous performance as the two farmers who join the war as they each bring an energetic approach to their characters as well as a complexity to their naiveté.

Les Carabiniers is an extraordinary yet compelling film from Jean-Luc Godard. While it’s a film that doesn’t provide any original insight into the idea of war, it does manage to have something to say as it is presented with a sense of humor. It’s also a very engaging film for the way Godard creates a war film by shooting it on actual locations as if he’s making a war film in the middle of city. In the end, Les Carabiniers is a captivating film from Jean-Luc Godard.

Jean-Luc Godard Films: All the Boys Are Called Patrick - Charlotte et son Jules - Breathless - The Little Soldier - A Woman is a Woman - My Life to Live - Contempt - Band of Outsiders - A Married Woman - Alphaville - Pierrot Le Fou - Masculine Feminine - Made in U.S.A. - Two or Three Things I Know About Her - La Chinoise - Weekend - One Plus One (Sympathy for the Devil) - (Joy of Learning) - (British Sounds) - Tout va Bien - (Letter to Jane) - (One A.M.) - (Number Two) - (Here and Elsewhere) - (Every Man for Himself) - (Passion) - (First Name: Carmen) - Hail, Mary - (Soft and Hard) - (Detective) - (King Lear (1987 film)) - (Keep Your Right Up) - (Nouvelle Vague) - (Allemagne 90 neuf zero) - (JLG/JLG - Self-Portrait in December) - For Ever Mozart - (Histoire(s) de Cinema) - (In Praise of Love) - (Notre musique) - (Film Socialisme) - (Adieu au Language) - (The Image Book)

© thevoid99 2012

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