Le petit soldat (aka The Little Soldier) is a French film, written and directed by French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard in 1960, but not released until 1963.
It was Godard’s second film with Anna Karina, who starred as Véronica Dreyer alongside Michel Subor (as Bruno Forestier).
Set during the Algerian War, it is about a man and woman from opposing sides who fall in love with one another.
During the Algerian War, Bruno Forestier lives in Geneva to escape the enlistment in France. Working for French intelligence, he is ordered to kill Palivoda, who is pro-FLN (National Liberation Front of Algeria), to prove he is not a double agent. Refusal and hesitation keep him from carrying out the assassination.
Meanwhile, he meets and falls in love with Véronica Dreyer, who helped the FLN. Bruno plans to leave with her for Brazil, but is captured and tortured by Algerian revolutionaries.
He escapes, and agrees to kill Palivoda for the French in exchange for passage to Brazil for himself and Véronica. However, the French discover Véronica’s ties to the FLN, and torture her to death.
- Michel Subor … Bruno Forestier.
- Anna Karina … Veronica Dreyer.
- Henri-Jacques Huet … Jacques.
- Paul Beauvais … Paul.
- László Szabó … Laszlo.
- Georges de Beauregard … Activist Leader (uncredited).
- Gilbert Edard … (uncredited).
- Jean-Luc Godard … Man at Railway Station (uncredited).
- The film was banned in France until January 1963, because of the presence of torture scenes.
- This was Godard’s second feature film (after À bout de souffle) but was released as his fourth movie.
- This is the first of Jean-Luc Godard’s movies starring Anna Karina, who became his wife soon after the filming. She would go on to become the quintessential Godard actress.
- Michel Subor would play Bruno Forestier 37 years later in Beau Travail (1999).
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Jean-Luc Godard.
- Producer(s): Georges de Beauregard.
- Writer(s): Jean-Luc Godard.
- Music: Maurice Leroux.
- Cinematography: Raoul Coutard.
- Editor(s): Agnes Guillemot, Lila Herman, and Nadine Marquand.
- Production: Les Productions Georges de Beauregard and Societe Nouvelle de Cinematographie.
- Distributor(s): Les Films Imperia (France) and Academy Cinema (UK).
- Release Date: 25 January 1963.
- Running time: 88 minutes.
- Country: France.
- Language: French.