Friday, October 31, 2008

Les Carabiniers

Les Carabiniers

One of the first things that bothered me about his film was the jumpiness of some of the shots. Black gaps in between frames really stood out to me, and I’ve gotten somewhat used to it as it is sort of a Godard fixture, and so I didn’t let it bother me past the first few minutes. Choppy cuts, poor matches on action, and often mismatched editing also distracted me for a few minutes, but once I got more invested in what was going on, these either disappeared or became less noticeable.

Technical grips aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the film, especially once the father and son got going and were involved in the war. It was very interesting as a war film (honestly I’m not even sure it could be called that), depicting a different sort of perspective than is customary to war films. There wasn’t much of the actual battles, but more about what soldiers do when they’re not fighting, and about the “spoils” of war and how they can change a man.

I would say that the opportunity to take whatever one pleases during the war changed the son into a sort of primitive savage, but from early on in the film he showed a tendency towards destruction. It didn’t come as much of a shock after that when he was straddling half-dressed women and ready to shoot unarmed girls.

I thought that the use of the letter writing as a storytelling mechanic was brilliant, and the repeated shots of the women reaching for the mailbox to retrieve them were very cool. I liked the random bits of speech that would pop up in cursive occasionally; they provided an often jarring insert between footage of war.

The violence towards women in the film is understandably shocking, and at the time I can’t even imagine what it must have looked like to audiences. Despite the sympathy I formed towards women while watching the film, that was almost all dashed to pieces as the women back at home were almost as awful as the two men.

The scene of the boy seeing his first movie was an especially awesome scene, which stood out not only because it was so funny but because it was so bizarre, and in a sense probably realistic.

At any rate, I might add more to this later if I see it again soon, which I’d like to, the subsequent viewings are almost always more revealing. I couldn’t say for certain it was a war film, truthfully I couldn’t really say what kind of film it was. It reminded me strongly of Sam Mendes’ Jarhead, in that it’s not a war film, but a film about war and how it changes people, or more accurately, reveals them for who they truly are.

No comments: