DER Documentary

Barracks Man (L'homme des Casernes)

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by Jacqueline Veuve
color, 90 min, 1994

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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This film deals with the issue of mandatory military service in Switzerland. For four months, from February to May 1990, filmmaker Jacqueline Veuve and her team filmed a platoon engaged in basic training at Colombier, Switzerland.

Having previously filmed recruitment, Veuve was now allowed to document exercises, inspections and rest breaks. Although she interviewed the entire platoon on several occasions, the film focusses on five recruits from different parts of French-speaking Switzerland, each with a different background and a unique opinion on serving in the military.

Time is also spent on the superior officers; the Colonel, the Major, the platoon-leader, and a Corporal. The recruits' remarks underline problems concerning not only the army, but life in general, including unemployment, drugs and the many changes going on in the world today.

"It's hard to really describe Swiss army life. The only one who did it was Max Frisch, and the only one who makes us live it, is Jacqueline Veuve with her film! One can only feel the greatest tenderness for our army of good citizens. It is the perfect image of our country: sublime and absurd.” — Patrick Nordmann, Le Matin

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Quality Award (Swiss Federal Office of Culture)
Munich, Leipzig, Namur, Reality Film, Paris, Amasculture-Portugal - Shown abroad by Pro Helvetia

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts