Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jean-Luc Godard: Les Carabiniers

The Godard fest continues. The pointedness of Les Carabiniers [The Riflemen] (1963) in dealing with humanity's insanely delirious propensity for war-making is both shocking and refreshing. I can only think of two other movies like it in tone and spirit: Leo McCarey and the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933) and Fernando de Fuentes' ¡Vámonos con Pancho Villa! / Let's Go with Pancho Villa! (1936). Another approximation might be if Euripides' The Trojan Women (415 B.C.) was woven into Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1963/1964). No matter how you shuffle the cards -- and like its illustrious peers -- Les Carabiniers remains subversive and pertinent. 

Take surrealism and theatre of the absurd, Bertolt Brecht and grainy black and white cinéma vérité visuals and blend together with modern day characters in a primal, ageless story of war's impact and voilà. As the recruiting Riflemen say to Ulysses and Michelangelo (and Cleopatra and Venus): "You'll enrich your minds by visiting foreign countries. Then you'll become very rich. You'll be able to have whatever you want . . . You take it from the enemy . . ."

More soon on the "letter from the King" that starts it all and beyond.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough.


Charles Gramlich said...

So not pro war, I take it? :)

Adorably Dead said...

Gah! You mentioned the Marx brothers and now I have 'I'm against it' stuck in my head. Now with that being said hello and I must be going. :p