The “Poilus” - infantry soldiers in the French army, especially during WWI - are waiting to leave for the battlefield. Among them, Ferdinand, a young hare, is playing the harmonica. A signal is given, the attack begins. It’s on the no man’s land that he first encounters his enemy, a horrible creature.
This short film is intriguing. Why the juxtaposition of the car in the opening scene and the tank? Is it humanity and war?
The harmonica, like Ivan Denisovich's clean spoon, is his clinging to humanity. And when he killed the soldier wearing a different color, he killed himself - metaphorically.
But also literally. Playing in the open battlefield was, essentially, suicide. All the soldiers heard him - and one might argue, were inspired by him - but then a shot rang out. Before the whistle.
But who shot him?
The soldier clenching his fist is in blue, just Ferdinand. Did his own commander kill him? The one who ripped his little bit of humanity left and stomped it in the dirt? Or was it the enemy?
And who is the enemy?
Using bunnies is brilliant because any association we have with them is kind and fluffy and a perfect gift for any child of any age because they're harmless! Bunnies don't fight wars. Bunnies don't kill - our enemies do.
Once humans are taken out of the film, everyone can be anyone, which, I think, is the point.
The line between them and us is instantly blurred. All the bunnies look the same, act the same, and twitch the same. Suddenly, any one of us can be any one of them. And anyone of us can choose to play the harmonica, or pull the trigger.
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