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Life and Nothing But


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Product Details

  • Actors: Philippe Noiret, Sabine Azéma, Pascale Vignal, Maurice Barrier, François Perrot
  • Directors: Bertrand Tavernier
  • Writers: Bertrand Tavernier, Jean Cosmos
  • Producers: Albert Prévost, Frédéric Bourboulon, René Cleitman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 5, 2004
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002Y4T06
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,280 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Life and Nothing But" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

A year after WWI has ended, cynical Major Dellaplane (Philippe Noiret - Cinema Paradiso, The Postman) has the difficult task of identifying and interring thousands of fallen French soldiers anonymously languishing in field hospitals and littering the vast Verdun battlefield. Dellaplane has also become reluctant shepherd to an ad hoc society grown around the legions of widowed wives and mothers combing the French countryside for word of their loved ones. When a buried hospital train yields a fresh source of possibly recognizable bodies, Irene, a haughty Parisian aristocrat and Alice, a hopeful young schoolteacher, form an unlikely alliance with the Major. As the train's surprising cargo is revealed, the three searches must choose between life in a post-war world stripped of illusions or the seductive self-imprisonment of bitterness and mourning for days, lives and loves gone by.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
This is to recognize ALL of those who will never be recognized.
Ernest Jagger
This film gives us a history lesson as well as a bit of an understanding of the French psyche from a historical point of view.
Mark Hammond
This film talks not only about the hypocrisy of war and the pain it creates, but also about love.
M. Ferrer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. Ferrer on December 8, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Major Delaplane has been comisioned by the French government to find a body to be buried under L'Arc de Triounph. It must be the body of a soldier not claimed by his family. Meanwhile Irene de Courtil, a lady form a wealthy family is looking for her husband's remains.

They and several others arrived to a place where a military French train destroyed by the German army is buried inside a tunnel. People go there trying to find their husbands, sons and brothers and also trying to end with a war who has been terrible.

These two characters are distant, they had problems to develope any intimate relation. Delaplane is a soldier, he thinks like one and acts like one. But he is also a man who has seen so much death and destruction that he has reached a point where nothing cares to him. Irene is a woman who has lived a predictable life, she is a lady , in all the extension of the word. Who now feels out of place among people who has felt the war in its cruelest way. They start their relation fighting each other. But also fighting their concern to care about someone. Because they are afraid of having an intimate relation with anyone.

This film talks not only about the hypocrisy of war and the pain it creates, but also about love. The fear we feel when we love, if we dare to do it again after the pain love has done to us.

The performances of Sabine Azema and Philippe Noiret are wonderful. They can show us their fragility with such economy of gestures and words that you cannot avoid to feel moved by them.

A wonderful film that will remain in your memory for a long time
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 7, 2006
Format: DVD
There are at least five stories in Life and Nothing But, and most of them could make a movie in themselves. There is the story of Major Delaplane (Philippe Noiret) who in 1920 has the task of trying to identify the 350,000 French soldiers who remain on the missing roles. There is the story of the hypocrisy behind the choosing of an unknown soldier who eventually will be buried with great pomp and honors beneath the Arc de Triomphe. There is the story of Irene de Courtil (Sabine Azema), married to a missing soldier who comes from a rich and privileged family. There is the story of Alice (Pascale Vignal) whose fiancee and lover was last seen in a battle where hundreds of soldiers were wounded or killed. And we have the story of the thousands of wives, parents, brothers and sisters of those 350,000 missing men who, nearly two years after the end of WWI, still have no idea of what happened to their men...are they alive, are they dead, are they horribly wounded, are they forgotten in some hospital or mental ward?

Delaplane is an army officer who is consumed by his job of identifying the missing, of finding corpses and tracing who they were. His superiors think he is reckless and unreliable. The generals, the politicians and the industrialists want nothing more than to let the missing stay missing. That way bad decisions and pointless battles may escape notice, and protected factories can go back to business. Delaplane is even more cynical as he sees the rush to find the remains of an unidentified soldier to be honored in Paris. He has to deal with the aristocratic Madame de Courtil and with the schoolteacher, Alice. He is brusque and cynical, yet he is dedicated to finding and identifying every one of those 350,000 missing men that he possibly can.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Jagger on October 23, 2006
Format: DVD
"Life and Nothing But" is a French film with subtitles. It is highly recommended. One of the tragic aftermath's of the First World War was the unusually high numbers of 'unknown' and 'missing' soldiers. Part of this lie in the fact that many soldiers who fought on the western front in the war were literally 'atomized' by the intense artillary shells pounding at their positions day and night. In the film, Major Delaphane (Phillipe Noiret) has the unfortunate task of trying to put names to the dead.

But there are also many whose faces have been disfigured, and he has devised a system whereby he has been able to identify over 51,000 of the dead. These 51,000 account for over 350,000 still unknown. In the film the viewer can witness the agony of the loved one's who arrive at the battlefield's looking for anything to recognize the deceased. Even if the identity is in doubt, these families want closure in order to put flowers and pray over their loved one's. Truly tragic.

Major Delaphane is given the order to locate a set of soldier's who are not recognizable; and he must choose one that in French. This one soldier, whose remains are unknown is to be place under the Arc de Triomphe. This is to recognize ALL of those who will never be recognized. The tragedy is that this is true [not in the film] but in real life. If anyone has ever walked the WWI battlefields of France, you will notice in the cemeteries, both French and British, that many of the grave markers are marked 'Unknown' and this is the tragedy of this war. I highly recommend the film, it is insightful, and touching.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on September 5, 2008
Format: DVD
A group of people at the end of the WW1 intends desperately to seek the bodies of his friends and familiars. Since this tragic premise Tavernier depicted a huge existential canvas as well as an unforgettable and painful about the human condition.

In the recent past, two other original films come to my mind respect the fatality and the spiritual wounds of the war. Forbidden games of Rene Clement and the Burmese harp. In this sense this movie must be regarded a true classic.

Philipe Noiret won the prize as best actor according the European film academy for this acting.

Extraordinary masterwork !
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