Beau travail


IMDb Rating 7.4 10 7


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September 26, 2020



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856.59 MB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
92 min
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1.55 GB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
92 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by The Truth 9 / 10 / 10

An effective study on what military life does to human expression.

Claire Denis' Beau travail, alongside Bruno Dumont's L'Humanité, is a French film I wouldn't suggest to those who get easily bored in a movie theater. But if one is willing to forget the conventions of narrative cinema and accept the sometimes documentarian, sometimes corporeally poetic way Beau travail approaches it's subject, this should be a true treat for both the eyes and the mind. The story of the movie is thin as paper: Galoup, a sergeant in the French Foreign Legion, has to deal with his jealousy when a new recruit called Sentain becomes a hero in the eyes of his men. Alongside Galoup's soldiers, the only other important player in this bizarre drama is Forestier, Galoup's superior, who he obviously admires, but who doesn't share his resentment for Sentain. Gradually, Galoup's envy for Sentain becomes too much for him to take, and his downward spiral begins. Denis depicts, with great sense for details, how the military routines dominate every aspect of the legionnaires' (and especially Galoup's) life. This is portrayed effectively in the beginning of the film, when the soldiers' crude attempts to dance in a disco are compared to their beautiful, elegant movements during physical training. To Galoup, military discipline has become the only form of self-expression, and for this reason he hates Sentain, who tries to bring a little more humanity to the camp. Or does he? A curious aspect of the film is that we never see any of the things Galoup, in his narrative, accuses Sentain of. Only in the end Sentain acts against Galoup's strict orders, and this could be seen as counterreaction to Galoup's obvious hatred and unreasonable forms of punishment; the humane deed Sentain commits is something any soldier who isn't thoroughly programmed would do. So, since the story is told from Galoup's point of view, it could be argued that he has become paranoid, that as soldier without a war or an enemy he is only looking for an object to his emotional output (which the military life has distorted into hatred and envy), and Sentain, because of his one act of heroism, happens to be an apt target. The above, however, isn't the only way to interpret the story. It is quite possible that Sentain acts the way Galoup says he does, and this turns the movie into a triangle (or a rectangle) drama between Galoup, Sentain and his men, possibly even his superior. The only thing Galoup's seems to (or is able to) care about is the military, and disciplining the legionnaires is his way of showing his affection. But this balance is broken by Sentain, whom the men admire, and who's actions are approved by Forestier. Since Galoup fears he is about to lose the very substance of his life, he reacts the only way is familiar with: by tightening his rule. Galoup's behaviour is, of course, bound to have repercussions, but there is no other option he can possibly think of. Besides the way military life takes control of the men, Denis' other obvious point is to show how absurd and pointless the army routines seem in the eyes of an outsider. During the film we see countless training numbers and war excercises and witness the soldiers dull everyday life, but never do we see them doing anything useful. At one time the legionnaires build a camp in the desert, but the only reason for this seems to be Galoup's desire to get some action to the bored men. Beau travail's antimilitaristic theme becomes even more obvious, when the legionnaires' life is shown in contrast of the Africans who neighbour them. These people shepherd their herd, weave mats, sell things, make food, and watch with astonishment as the soldiers dig a hole in the middle of nowhere. The personal drama in the film becomes even more tragic, when Denis shows just how meaningless is the system that produces these kind of human beings. In the terrific final scene of the film we see the whole scale of Galoup's desperation as it becomes obvious, that he could never be anything else than a sad, retired army officer with no chance of fitting into the civilian world.

Reviewed by nycritic 9 / 10 / 10

Billy Budd, Revisited

Every so often a movie comes out that conflicts me, and these are the movies that take me quite a while to analyze. Sometimes it will take a second view to see if I missed some vital element, or it will dawn on me later, and thus I will have grasped what it was that at the moment seemed rather inconsequential. BEAU TRAVAIL, Claire Denis' 1999 film, is one of these movies. It is an adaptation of Herman Melville's "Billy Budd" -- although adaptation should be expressed in a loose term. It tells the story of an army troop stationed at Djibouti, training endlessly under the firm hand of a nearly expressionless Denis Lavant, himself a training machine, and the arrival of a young soldier played by the very beautiful Gregoire Colin who becomes the catalyst that triggers a response from Lavant. Colin, as Sentain, is the young rookie everyone loves and admires; he has great beauty and is the epitome of masculinity. This ticks Lavant's Galoup to approach Sentain at an oblique angle, and a scene in which both men face off resembles that of two lions about to attack and is a sequence of immense beauty because you see the hardened expression on Lavant's leonine face pitted against Colin's frightened yet set facade. This is what cinema is supposed to do: tell a story without too much dialogue, maybe a voice-over here or there as BEAU TRAVAIL does, and then get to its denouement, which in this movie is made more ironic than tragic. Where it falters a little is in its portentous score with a male chorus which is lifted from the opera version: it's too intrusive and is reminiscent of the score used for 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, but there it had a purpose; here, I didn't see it. Frequent incursions into dance music also distract a little from the meat of the story. What I do admire is Denis' approach to the material. In bringing a strong homoerotic element to the scene, she also manages to do what few gay directors have done: create a visually mesmerizing work of art where male passion is expressed through what is appropriate of the gender: physical activity. It's what I've always wanted to see: an aggressive ballet of masculine energy which unfolds a deceptively simple story of attraction, repulsion, and envy. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by tygyr_tygyr 9 / 10 / 10

Lighten up people--this is a great film about an outsider

Going against the trend of reviews here, as is usual for me, I loved this film. Perhaps only another outsider can see how brilliantly Lavant acts the outsider. He is a jealous outsider, jealous of Sentain. He is jealous of him, not in love with him and there is a difference. Galoup (Lavant) truly loves Forestier, but as Galoup points out, Forestier doesn't care. Instead, when Sentain appears, Forestier is attracted to him in a way he was not to Galoup. Well, Sentain is charming, calm, open, attractive, all the things Galoup is not. Sentain is one of the gang, Galoup is an outsider and no matter how hard he tries, he cannot get in. Much of the film is dialogue free, but Lavant admirably shows what he is feeling with his facial and body gestures. And after all that falls out from this jealous rage, Galoup is returned to France but still remains an outsider. No friends in the Legion, nor out of it. And the finale, Galoup dancing by himself in a very contorted way, is one of the most agonizing I have seen. It represents well what Galoup's life is like. You should not see this film if you are looking for a homoerotic experience. It is not about sexuality, but the rage of an outsider. As such, it is brilliant.

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