A young French woman returns to the vast silence of West Africa to contemplate her childhood days in a colonial outpost in Cameroon. Her strongest memories are of the family's houseboy, ... See full summary »
Isaach De Bankolé,
Teenage siblings Nenette and Boni were raised apart as a result of their parents' divorce. Their mother, who doted on her son Boni, has died. He works for an interesting couple as a pizza ... See full summary »
Shane and June Brown are an American couple honeymooning in Paris in an effort to nurture their new life together, a life complicated by Shane's mysterious and frequent visits to a medical ... See full summary »
Having packed up her possessions to move in with her lover, Laure is more unsettled than she appears. Needing to get out and have a change of scenery, she jumps in her car to go to have ... See full summary »
Hélène de Saint-Père
Louis Trebor, a man nearing 70, lives alone with dogs in the forest near the French-Swiss border. He has heart problems, seeks a transplant, and then goes in search of a son sired years ... See full summary »
Beautiful Daiga has emigrated from Lithuania to Paris and is looking for a place to stay and work. Theo is a struggling musician, and his brother Camille - a transvestite dancer. One of ... See full summary »
This film focuses on ex-Foreign Legion officer, Galoup, as he recalls his once glorious life, leading troops in the Gulf of Djibouti. His existence there was happy, strict and regimented, but the arrival of a promising young recruit, Sentain, plants the seeds of jealousy in Galoup's mind. He feels compelled to stop him from coming to the attention of the commandant who he admires, but who ignores him. Ultimately, his jealousy leads to the destruction of both Sentain and himself. Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
The medium of film is blessed with the fact that with it, it is possible to exploit the merits of almost every artform. Film can make use of still imagery, like painting and photography, and three-dimensional (albeit in a virtual sense) imagery, like sculpture. It is music with visuals - theatre without physical restrictions. Hence, the possibilities of film are more numerous than any one other artform. However, the medium's potential remains largely unexplored, as very few film-makers venture far past conventional dialogue-based storytelling. As a means of story-telling, film is inferior to literature. The book, after all, is almost always better than the film. Dialogue-based storytelling is simply not the medium's forté. Claire Denis, with Beau Travail, has reminded us of this by making a beautiful , and powerful, film which is told largely through imagery. The subject of Beau Travail is very masculine: Men in the foreign legion - and in particular, one man's bitter obsession with another when he feels his 'alpha male' status threatened. The manner in which the film is made, however, is very feminine. Instead of a logical, cause-and-effect structure, the film has an ethereal fluidity. It is less made up of scenes, than it is of dozens of segments - most of them devoid of a narrative - which flow in and out past each other, sometimes reappearing later on, sometimes not. In one such segment, the tense relationship between Galoup and Sentain is shown as the two, eyes fixed, circle each other as if in some sort of surreal, hate-driven ritual. This moment, while being far removed from real human behaviour is, through its striking symbolism, as telling of the characters' inner experiences as any dialogue between them could be. Denis focuses on the details of the mens' lives in long, fascinated shots, observing almost every element of their lives - how they exercise, rest, fight, dance, swim, iron, eat, and hate. She sees the beauty of both the men and the world they inhabit, and shows this beauty as an integral (if not THE integral) part of the film. These many studied observations are small elements that, together, make up a remarkably rich whole. They form a film which has a depth and subtlety of perception which most male directors could not, in my opinion, achieve.
Written by Dawid Bleja
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