Compared to "Breathless," Le Petit Soldat's images suggest a stronger sense of place, as characters seem inextricably linked to their environment. Overall, the film lacks the artifice of Hollywood cinema, which Godard admired but was looking to move past after catching flack from the French left wing.
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Beyond the timelessness of the story itself, the film is beautifully shot and though early in Godard’s career already showcased his ability to capture emotional intensity in the very way he frames the shots.
Starting with Le Petit Soldat, Godard was forging his own individualistic art and becoming the most relevant director of our time.
It’s a classic espionage plot shot through with a typically heady mix of art and literary references: Klee and Velázquez, Bach and Haydn, Bernanos and Musil.