Le Soldat Qui Dort (1984)

Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - France, Switzerland  |  
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Pacifist and enigmatic throughout, Le Soldat Qui Dort opens with a little boy crawling along the floor of a hospital ward where his father lies in a coma. On a train, going to a remote village where it is safer, the boy sees the coach car filled with soldiers covered in dried mud, sitting like apparitions waiting for eternity to end. Once at the village, an elderly woman takes the boy under her wing and everything is peaceful until her son comes home from the war and displays behavior typical of post-traumatic stress syndrome -- sudden bursts of anger complicated by swings in mood like those of a manic-depressive. The little boy, ever quiet, continues to observe this ex-soldier and the world around him with no commentary or clear references to reveal his thoughts, or to even reveal if he is the "sleeping soldier" of the title. This puzzle and the many others in the under-explained images is likely to leave most viewers wondering what the full meaning of the film might be.



battle-fatigue, coma, father, pacifism, soldier, war-atrocities