Directed by Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1963, 75 min.). Digital. French with English subtitles.
One of Jean-Luc Godard’s rarely seen gems, this comedic anti-war parable follows two poor farmers who are recruited to fight in a war in a fictional country. Ulysses (Marino Masé) and Michel-Ange (Patrice Moullet) receive letters from the king promising dazzling riches in return for their service, and granting them absolute freedom from consequence while fighting in the war. Their greedy wives help convince them to enlist, and the men proceed to murder and pillage without reservation, abandoning all morality. The pair’s exploits are recounted through postcards sent to their wives, telling tales of the horrors of battle.
“So incredible and so brilliantly prolonged . . . it climbs a high wire and walks it and keeps walking it until we’re almost dizzy from admiration. The tight rope is rarely stretched so high in movies."—Pauline Kael
Print courtesy of the Institut Français.