For You I Will Fight

For You I Will Fight


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"You're nineteen," says the doctor, offscreen. "Did you really think it would last forever?" It is Ana she addresses, fresh from her book-strewn garret, kettle clutched for warmth. The shortcut to intimacy that is watching someone urinate, and test results. The cynicism of a doctor, rollerblades by the chair in a sexual health clinic. Watching someone cut their hair, shades of GI Jane, but there's something deeper at play.

The title comes from a song, Les Commandos, with a chorus of "la la la la la" and simple patriotism. Motives for joining are usually more complex. The four actresses in this film each deliver strong, subtly distinguished performances; Salom Richard, Sarah Gilman, Elose Genet, Marina Djafar, but it's Richard and Djafar who stand out as Ana and Meriem. The former our protagonist, the latter the group's natural leader.

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We learn something of each of them, but it's the little things - a single shower working, applying camouflage to each other's faces. The lives left behind while they are in basic are unfleshed, remote. What matters is inspection; folding, dusting, drill. The demands of Sergent Chef Schneider aren't quite on a par with Zim in Starship Troopers, and his language isn't as salty as R. Lee Ermy's contributions to Full Metal Jacket. He's played by his namesake, supported by Sergent Weber (Yoann Miclo), walking a delicate line; drill sergeant, yes, but resentful as a nursemaid to four young women.

This was, is, Rachel Lang's graduation film, and it's a good one. Well directed, well judged, subtle in tone and form. Good sound, music, set dressing, live singing and real songs. It's the last one that makes it striking. Le Volontaire is the tale of a man already dead - who volunteered because of trouble with a girl back home. Here, gender is reversed, but not crudely. Subtlety, delicacy, quality - all things worth fighting for in film, and all well in evidence here.

Reviewed on: 24 Feb 2011
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For You I Will Fight packshot
Escaping from an unhappy love affair, a young woman enlists in the army to try and find meaning in her life.
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Director: Rachel Lang

Year: 2010

Runtime: 21 minutes

Country: Belgium


Glasgow 2011

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