Le petit soldat


1h 28m 1967
Le petit soldat

Brief Synopsis

Love inspires a rootless young man to get involved in the battle for freedom in Algiers.

Film Details

Genre
Crime
Thriller
War
Political
Foreign
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
New York opening: 20 Apr 1967
Production Company
Productions Georges de Beauregard; S. N. C.
Distribution Company
West End Films, Inc.
Country
France
Location
Geneva, Switzerland

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

During the Algerian crisis of 1958, Bruno Forestier, a deserter from the French Army, works as a photographer with a news agency in Geneva. Although two of his friends, Jacques and Paul, are right-wing terrorists plotting against the Algerian rebels, Bruno himself is without political ideals; he is concerned only with personal freedom. The terrorists suspect him of being a double agent and attempt to use his position as a deserter to blackmail him into assassinating a Swiss radio commentator who has been broadcasting on behalf of the Algerian rebels. Determined to follow his personal convictions, Bruno makes plans to escape to Brazil with Véronica Dreyer, a young woman with whom he has fallen in love. But he is captured by Algerians who use torture in an attempt to make him talk about his friends' activities. Bruno, however, stubbornly refuses to submit and eventually escapes by hurling himself out a window without knowing how far above street level he is being held. Desperate to get out of the country, he now consents to kill the news commentator in exchange for passports for himself and Véronica. Once the murder has finally been committed after several attempts, he discovers that he has been betrayed: his friends became suspicious of Véronica's Algerian sympathies and tortured her to death in a futile attempt to gain information about the Algerians. Bruno, left alone, reflects, "Only one thing remained, to learn not to be bitter. But I was happy, for I had a lot of time in front of me."

Film Details

Genre
Crime
Thriller
War
Political
Foreign
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
New York opening: 20 Apr 1967
Production Company
Productions Georges de Beauregard; S. N. C.
Distribution Company
West End Films, Inc.
Country
France
Location
Geneva, Switzerland

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Le Petit Soldat


Bruno Forestier is a French secret agent who travels to Geneva to assassinate a key figure in the National Liberation Front (FLN) but soon finds himself being used as a pawn by both sides. Eventually he is forced to take action when his girlfriend Veronique is kidnapped.

Because of Godard's ambivalent attitude to the Algerian War and his matter-of-fact depiction of brutality and torture in Le Petit Soldat (1963), the film was banned by the French Ministry of Information until 1963 when it was released with minor cuts. The film was his first foray into politics and the screen debut of Anna Karina, a former model who would go on to collaborate with Godard on eight more films.

In an interview that appeared in Cahiers du Cinema, Godard had this comment about Le Petit Soldat: "I wanted to catch up with the realism I had missed in Breathless, the concrete. The film takes off from an old idea: I wanted to speak of brainwashing....the happenings in Algeria made me replace brainwashing with torture, which had become the big question. My prisoner is someone who is asked to do something he doesn't want to do; simply doesn't want to do it, and he resists on principle. This is liberty as I see it: from a practical point of view. To be free is to be able to do what pleases you when it pleases you."

Producer: Georges de Beauregard
Screenplay: Jean-Luc Godard
Cinematography: Raoul Coutard
Editor: Agnes Guillemot, Lila Herman, Nadine Trintignant
Music: Maurice Leroux
Principal Cast: Michel Subor (Bruno Forestier), Anna Karina (Veronica Dreyer), Henri-Jacques Huet (Jacques), Laszlo Szabo (Laszlo).
In French with English subtitles
BW-86m.

by Jeff Stafford
Le Petit Soldat

Le Petit Soldat

Bruno Forestier is a French secret agent who travels to Geneva to assassinate a key figure in the National Liberation Front (FLN) but soon finds himself being used as a pawn by both sides. Eventually he is forced to take action when his girlfriend Veronique is kidnapped. Because of Godard's ambivalent attitude to the Algerian War and his matter-of-fact depiction of brutality and torture in Le Petit Soldat (1963), the film was banned by the French Ministry of Information until 1963 when it was released with minor cuts. The film was his first foray into politics and the screen debut of Anna Karina, a former model who would go on to collaborate with Godard on eight more films. In an interview that appeared in Cahiers du Cinema, Godard had this comment about Le Petit Soldat: "I wanted to catch up with the realism I had missed in Breathless, the concrete. The film takes off from an old idea: I wanted to speak of brainwashing....the happenings in Algeria made me replace brainwashing with torture, which had become the big question. My prisoner is someone who is asked to do something he doesn't want to do; simply doesn't want to do it, and he resists on principle. This is liberty as I see it: from a practical point of view. To be free is to be able to do what pleases you when it pleases you." Producer: Georges de Beauregard Screenplay: Jean-Luc Godard Cinematography: Raoul Coutard Editor: Agnes Guillemot, Lila Herman, Nadine Trintignant Music: Maurice Leroux Principal Cast: Michel Subor (Bruno Forestier), Anna Karina (Veronica Dreyer), Henri-Jacques Huet (Jacques), Laszlo Szabo (Laszlo). In French with English subtitles BW-86m. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

"Photography is truth. And cinema is truth 24 frames a second"
- Bruno Forestier
Photography is truth...and cinema is truth 24 times a second.
- Bruno Forestier
""The time for action has past, the time for reflection has come."
- Bruno Forestier

Trivia

Notes

Filmed in Geneva April-May 1960. Banned by French censors until January 1963, when film was first shown in Paris with minor cuts; running time: 87 min.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 2001

Released in United States January 25, 1963

Released in United States September 16, 1965

Re-released in United States March 8, 2013

Shown at New York Film Festival September 16, 1965.

Shown at the National Film Theatre in London, England as part of a special two-month program dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard, June 1 - July 31, 2001.

Film marks screen debut for Anna Karina, who was to become Godard's wife after the picture was completed.

Film was banned in France until 1963 because of its treatment of French and Algerian terrorists.

Re-released in Paris January 11, 1989.

Shot between April-May 1960.

Released in United States September 16, 1965 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 16, 1965.)

Released in United States 2001 (Shown at the National Film Theatre in London, England as part of a special two-month program dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard, June 1 - July 31, 2001.)

Re-released in United States March 8, 2013

Released in United States January 25, 1963 (Premiered in Paris January 25, 1963.)