Jean-Luc Godard

Le petit soldat

Le petit soldat

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 Forestier 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.”

Film Info

  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • France
  • 1963
  • 88 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • French
  • Spine #1010

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

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Coming soon, available Jan 21, 2020

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

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Le petit soldat
Cast
Michel Subor
Bruno Forestier
Anna Karina
Veronica Dreyer
Henri-Jacques Huet
Jacques
Paul Beauvais
Paul
Georges de Beauregard
Activist leader
László Szabó
Laszlo
Jean-Luc Godard
Man at the railway station
Credits
Director
Jean-Luc Godard
Producer
Georges de Beauregard
Screenplay
Jean-Luc Godard
Director of photography
Raoul Coutard
Editor
Agnès Guillemot
Editor
Lila Herman
Editor
Nadine Marquand
Editor
Nadine Trintignant
Music
Maurice Leroux

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Jean-Luc Godard

Writer, Director

Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard

A pioneer of the French new wave, Jean-Luc Godard has had an incalculable effect on modern cinema that refuses to wane. Before directing, Godard was an ethnology student and a critic for Cahiers du cinéma, and his approach to filmmaking reflects his interest in how cinematic form intertwines with social reality. His groundbreaking debut feature, Breathless—his first and last mainstream success—is, of course, essential Godard: its strategy of merging high (Mozart) and low (American crime thrillers) culture has been mimicked by generations of filmmakers. As the sixties progressed, Godard’s output became increasingly radical, both aesthetically (A Woman Is a Woman, Contempt, Band of Outsiders) and politically (Masculin féminin, Pierrot le fou), until by 1968 he had forsworn commercial cinema altogether, forming a leftist filmmaking collective (the Dziga Vertov Group) and making such films as Tout va bien. Today Godard remains our greatest lyricist on historical trauma, religion, and the legacy of cinema.