A group of foreign legionnaires forgotten and abandoned in an outpost on the Horn of Africa. Aide-de-camp Galoup (Denis Lavant) perceives the new recruit Sentain as a rival for the favor of his commander and decides to put him out of action. The plan goes wrong and Galoup is thrown out. From a hotel room in Marseilles he remembers his time with the company. The structure of the film follows these memories only loosely, with plot and dialogue taking a back seat to a series of fleeting scenes and choreography of training, fighting and dancing bodies executing routines which tell a story all of their own. –Berlinale
A provocative director whose films offer richly textured, contemplative examinations of cross-cultural tensions and alienation, Claire Denis is one of French cinema’s most distinctive and humanistic storytellers. A prolific filmmaker who is more concerned with the drive of her characters rather than the plot that weaves them together, she has been dubbed by one critic as one of the only current French directors who “has been able to reconcile the lyricism of French cinema with the impulse to capture the often harsh face of contemporary France.”
Born in Paris on April 21, 1948, Denis, the daughter of a civil servant, was raised in a series of African countries until she was 14, when her family returned to France. She learned about filmmaking as an assistant to a number of notable directors, including Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire), Jim Jarmusch (Down by Law), and Costa-Gavras (Hanna K.). She made her directorial and screenwriting debut in 1988 with Chocolat, a lush exploration… read more
i had always heard this film had some serious homoerotic subtext to it, and it was just before a scene where Denis Lavant looks out at the rest of his troop in the middle of a splash fight that i thought "well, i don't see what's so gay about this." fine film. a fine, gay film.
It’s operatic score, supporting soundtrack and other sound is amongst the best I’ve come across and used to perfection. Unique camerawork, editing and its mise en scene in general impress; a technical marvel. It’s a poetic interpretation of the banalities of serving your country, sexually repressive and corrosive presented in a haunting, floaty atmosphere that is compelling despite it’s oblique narrative
Also: Revisiting Claire Denis’s Beau Travail, Robert M Young’s Alambrista! and more.
Dancing defines the night: late night exhaustion, exultation, revere. Stay aloof or dive in as far as one can go. Corona-Denis-Lavant
"Most of us at Reverse Shot are enamored of Claire Denis, so it was only a matter of time before we devoted a symposium to her, for
An interview with the French director of 35 rhums.
Claire Denis’ semi abstract, homo-erotic masterpiece, Beau Travail depicts life in a French Foreign Legion garrison in north Africa. Denis Lavant plays Sgt. Galloup, a career soldier in charge of a… read review
One of two French film adaptations of Herman Melville that year within the New French Extremity & Associates – following Carax’s take on Pierre: or, The Ambiguities in Pola X – Denis’ adaptation… read review
It really does look like I’m on a quest to write about everything Claire Denis has directed before the year is up. I know a few months back i said id ease up on her but i couldn’t resist. Many people… read review