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Inspired by Herman Melville's Billy Budd, BEAU TRAVAIL is the most provocative and accomplished film yet by French director Claire Denis (CHOCOLAT, I CAN'T SLEEP, NENETTE AND BONI). This simple tale, distilled to the essence of a ballad or poem, is drenched with male eroticism and cast in the form of a languorous tropical dream.
Sergeant Galoup (Denis Lavant) seems the ideal Legionnaire: a brooding loner, cut off from his past. He runs the troupe like a well-oiled machine, until his jealousy for a promising young recruit, Sentain (Gregoire Colin), threatens the delicate balance of his life. With the haunting suspense of Greek tragedy, Galoup's uncontrollable urge to destroy Sentain ultimately leads to his own downfall.
The movies of French director Claire Denis (I Can't Sleep, Trouble Every Day) are magical to some viewers and maddening to others because of the indirect way she tells her stories. Plot and character are revealed through what feel like inconsequential moments, while the important events seem to happen between the scenes. Beau Travail is more accessible than most, partly because of the simplicity of its plot (a jealous Foreign Legion sergeant ruins his own career when his beloved commander becomes fond of a young recruit) but mostly because of the vividness of its imagery, particularly sensuous shots of muscular men sweating in the sun or swimming in the ocean. It's unabashedly homoerotic, but it's also a compelling portrait of the basic emotional drives felt by men in extreme circumstances. --Bret FetzerSee all Editorial Reviews
Elegance, that is a definition used by a film leading character to the native-French-style-things-to-do describing, is surely a word a review of a screened French Legion story to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael Kerjman
Saw this film some time back in LA on the
Ind.Film Channel - I fell into the poetic-like
ambiance - or is it dream-like ? Read more
"Beau Travail" (1999) is directed by Claire Denis (Chocolat, White Material). The film is about the Legionnaire's life, and is mostly a series of images of the soldiers camped out... Read morePublished 15 months ago by G. Edmonson
If you like beautiful men in bare torsos and spectacular scenery you might enjoy looking at this movie. Besides that, nothing much happens, and what happens you don't know why. Read morePublished 15 months ago by R. Maduro
This is my latest addition to my "military/war flicks" collection.
From an artistic viewpoint, the film is beautifully shot and beautifully edited. Read more
Certainly a thought provoking film, like all this director's work. It was like watching a situation evolve from a careful distance with no involvement. Read morePublished on January 27, 2011 by Frodo
La directora -a decir de Steiner- hace una interpretación responsable de "Billy Budd", el texto de Herman Melville: Traslada la aventura marina a un escuadrón de... Read morePublished on February 7, 2010 by Virginia F. Gatti
Director Claire Denis' BEAU TRAVAIL is not an easy film to categorize. Based in part on Herman Melville's novel, "Billy Budd" - and containing musical passages from Benjamin... Read morePublished on September 11, 2008 by J. Michael Click
This is a great film from a cinematographic view point. It is very well filmed, the script is well-done, director does an awesome job to relate the attitude of service in hot... Read morePublished on April 17, 2008 by M. Semenov