1010 Le petit soldat

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domino harvey
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1010 Le petit soldat

#1 Post by domino harvey » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:23 pm

Le petit soldat

Image

Before his convention-shattering debut, Breathless, had even premiered, Jean-Luc Godard leapt into the making of his second feature, a thriller that would tackle the most controversial subject in France: the use of torture in the Algerian War. Despite his lack of political convictions, photojournalist Bruno Forestier (Michel Subor) is roped into a paramilitary group waging a shadow war in Geneva against the Algerian independence movement. Anna Karina (in her first collaboration with Godard, whose camera is visibly besotted with her) is beguiling as the mysterious woman with whom Forrestier becomes infatuated. Banned for two and a half years by French censors for its depiction of brutal tactics on the part of the French government and the Algerian fighters alike, Le petit soldat finds the young Godard already retooling cinema as a vehicle for existential inquiry, political argument, and ephemeral portraiture—in other words, as a medium for delivering "truth twenty-four times per second."

SPECIAL FEATURES

• High-definition digital restoration, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Interview with director Jean-Luc Godard from 1965
• Interview with actor Michel Subor from 1963
• Audio interview with Godard from 1961
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by critic Nicholas Elliott

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domino harvey
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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#2 Post by domino harvey » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:28 pm

Glad this is finally coming, but shame there’s zero critical on disc extras. They could have at least ported over Sterritt’s excellent mini commentary track from the DVD

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#3 Post by knives » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:07 pm

Yeah, not only is this one of my favorite Godards, but it would seem to be an easy source for extras given its history and subject. Even just a comparison with Pontecorvo would be compelling. Imagine a discussion in the context of Godard who at the time was perceived by some as a right winger.

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#4 Post by Ovader » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:12 pm

It would be great to have an extra discussing the context of the times for the French film community trying to express various views of the Algerian War within their work. I imagine some of the interviews will deal with that issue but would be ideal to have scholars of politics, philosophy and of course film sharing their insights of that time.

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#5 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:22 pm

Is this the first time this is released in the States?

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#6 Post by Rayon Vert » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:35 pm

Not on dvd. There was the Fox Lorber 2001 release which has the Sterritt (very mini, i.e. 15 minutes) commentary.

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#7 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:54 pm

I'm very excited about this. I believe it was the last 35mm restoration Rialto Pictures did before going DCP only. I caught it at Los Angeles' Nuart Theater in 2013 and had been itching to rewatch it, but have been patiently waiting for a new version to come out. I'm surprised Criterion took this long to release any 60s Godard film. Easily the release of January for myself.

I'm surprised about seeing this film as right-wing. I know in Godard's youth, there may have been some right-wing politics, but I remember this being an early example of how Marxism was a major factor of his work from the start. I just rewatched Vivre Sa Vie two weeks ago, and the transactional nature of sex work is viewed with such an icy lens and mechanical distance, even as Anna Karina is filmed with true love. His hero during his 60s period is also Bertolt Brecht, someone who's so open about their politics too.

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#8 Post by Shrew » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:37 pm

I think the main issue is that when it was made, in 1960, it was audacious for openly questioning the war in Algiers and particularly for acknowledging that torture was being used. The film was thus banned in France and not released until 1963--after Algeria had won independence and talk of torture was no longer verboten. In that context, it played like "both sides"ism.

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#9 Post by filmyfan » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:25 am

This needs an Adrian Martin commentary me thinks :D

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#10 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:45 pm


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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#11 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:48 pm

I never thought I’d see this film look so good. Those shots of Anna Karina are bittersweet.

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#12 Post by black&huge » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:25 am

That really has to be one of the most crisp transfers ever. I can't believe my eyes.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#13 Post by domino harvey » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:28 am

For some perspective...
domino harvey wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:50 pm
Revisited Le petit soldat and had a good chuckle at Fox Lorber's claim here:

Image

Could that be accurate? Well, it's

Image

I'm not sure I'd seen this since last watching it on my old tube TV (!), but man, there's nowhere to go but up from this "Revival"-- where's this and Les carabiniers already, Criterion?!

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#14 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:08 am

black&huge wrote:That really has to be one of the most crisp transfers ever. I can't believe my eyes.
You know when Beaver’s caps look that good it has to be a great looking disc

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#15 Post by Rayon Vert » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:49 am

How does this compare to the version in the Studio Canal box set?

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#16 Post by swo17 » Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:11 am

The DVD set from more than 10 years ago?

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#17 Post by Rayon Vert » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:09 pm

Damn you’re right, I just hallucinated that this had been included on the blu ray collection set from a few years ago. Well that solves the problem!

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#18 Post by TMDaines » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:11 pm

Not surprised this looks amazing. The overseas Blu-rays look fantastic. Obviously working with great materials.

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#19 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:36 pm

While I maintain Criterion missed an opportunity to include contextual critical appreciations of the film, two of the vintage features the label dug up are refreshingly obscure! The audio interview with Godard is in English, which hobbles Godard's responses a bit even though he's fluent, and the interviewer seemingly can't let him talk more than five seconds without interrupting him to ask another question, but this 30 minute (!) radio program really came out of nowhere, so kudos to whoever even found it. But the best supplement is the Subor interview, filmed at a gym with Subor in full boxing regalia as he talks about his career and very politely dodges the interviewer's question asking him to compare Johnny Hallyday to James Dean! What a hoot his whole interview is, one of the most unexpectedly entertaining features of its kind I've seen lately

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#20 Post by cdnchris » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:47 pm

I'm used to Godard being cagey and fucking with people in his interviews, so it's always a wonderful surprise (and welcome!) when he's open to a discussion, and that one with Bachmann was great. The only other one I recall him being more open during was the Dick Cavett interview on the Every Man for Himself disc, though I recall him coming off nervous during that conversation.

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#21 Post by Oedipax » Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:42 pm

I haven't been able to find any online commentary on this, but I suspect there's a bit of wordplay going on with the title of the film and Bruno Forestier's name. In Paris, I've often seen trucks driving around with LE PETIT FORESTIER emblazoned on the side (apparently they make/rent trucks for the purpose of mobile refrigeration).

One further aside - here's hoping now that this is in the collection, we can finally -- finally -- get Denis' Beau travail as well (in which, for those who haven't seen it, Michel Subor reprises his role from this film).

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Re: 1010 Le petit soldat

#22 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon May 18, 2020 7:51 pm

This has never been one of my favorite Godards but I probably get more enjoyment out of the spy plot than most, and think the fun balances out the philosophy very well - a rhythm that Godard had an immediate skill for, and only continued to stretch the bounds of over time. Karina's presence is so alluring, and I love how Godard plays with expectations, including the fake-out of using her as hitting the beats of the expected femme fatale, only to reverse the direction of 'noir' fatalism in character outcomes. There is a newfound density as Godard muses over his own contradictory impulses between remaining free and self-focused, the urge to be liberated from the confines of his milieu yet inescapably complicit in politics simply by existing within a milieu. Self-actualization is an umbrella covering both of these ideas- defining self-discovery through releasing the holds of ideology but also through participation in the world on its loose terms, namely to be involved in its natural politics and choosing within those confines. Godard’s central character wants to leave action in the past and begin to know himself- but perhaps he must know himself through action.

This film can be viewed as the initiation of this sociopolitical paradox that divides Godard’s definition of authenticity. Much of the film involves the protagonist wondering how he can access freedom (my favorite is the intelligently cheeky apology to the hit-and-run: “maybe remorse will bring me freedom?”) that it feels like the appropriate next step after Godard broke new ground in freedom within cinematic expression via Breathless. He must now question how to find freedom in life itself, which initiates a long career of trying to capture real life issues through the artifice of the medium.

I forgot how genuinely funny this film is, and I laughed a fair amount on this latest watch. I'm struggling to remember some of the lines that killed me, but one was the voiceover/visual joke after he jumps out the window where the camera slowly pans down the skyscraper while the narration declares "Good thing it was only the second floor," or something like that.

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Le petit soldat (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)

#23 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:30 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, August 31st

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Re: Le petit soldat (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)

#24 Post by knives » Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:37 am

This is actually one of my favorite Godard’s of the ‘60s. On a narrative level I find it incredibly compelling as structurally it kind of announces him as incurious about telling stories per say. The story here is quite nearly a remake of Breathless with Godard’s main points of departure being style, the editing is radically different, and the reference points being contemporary history rather then cinema purely.

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Re: Le petit soldat (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)

#25 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:38 pm

I'll second the appreciation, even if I wouldn't rank it quite as high. My writeup from a recent watch:
therewillbeblus wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 7:51 pm
This has never been one of my favorite Godards but I probably get more enjoyment out of the spy plot than most, and think the fun balances out the philosophy very well - a rhythm that Godard had an immediate skill for, and only continued to stretch the bounds of over time. Karina's presence is so alluring, and I love how Godard plays with expectations, including the fake-out of using her as hitting the beats of the expected femme fatale, only to reverse the direction of 'noir' fatalism in character outcomes. There is a newfound density as Godard muses over his own contradictory impulses between remaining free and self-focused, the urge to be liberated from the confines of his milieu yet inescapably complicit in politics simply by existing within a milieu. Self-actualization is an umbrella covering both of these ideas- defining self-discovery through releasing the holds of ideology but also through participation in the world on its loose terms, namely to be involved in its natural politics and choosing within those confines. Godard’s central character wants to leave action in the past and begin to know himself- but perhaps he must know himself through action.

This film can be viewed as the initiation of this sociopolitical paradox that divides Godard’s definition of authenticity. Much of the film involves the protagonist wondering how he can access freedom (my favorite is the intelligently cheeky apology to the hit-and-run: “maybe remorse will bring me freedom?”) that it feels like the appropriate next step after Godard broke new ground in freedom within cinematic expression via Breathless. He must now question how to find freedom in life itself, which initiates a long career of trying to capture real life issues through the artifice of the medium.

I forgot how genuinely funny this film is, and I laughed a fair amount on this latest watch. I'm struggling to remember some of the lines that killed me, but one was the voiceover/visual joke after he jumps out the window where the camera slowly pans down the skyscraper while the narration declares "Good thing it was only the second floor," or something like that.
The enveloping narrative intrigue seems to serve a split function: cinematic escape like the protagonist's desire to be freed, and a suction of gravity that inevitably politicizes everything and thwarts that escape. This might be the purest form of Godard's polarized drives exhausting themselves in a cyclical relationship of fighting and surrender towards greater understanding of the self, at least in his early work where everything can be political and fun simultaneously, or at least he was willing to make room for it all.

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