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The Officer's Ward (2001)
"La chambre des officiers" (original title)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,228 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 11 critic

The first days of WWI. Adrien, a young and handsome lieutenant, is wounded by a piece of shrapnel. He will spend the entire wartime at the Val-de-Grâce Hospital, in Paris. Five long years, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Adrien
Denis Podalydès ...
Henri
Grégori Derangère ...
Pierre
...
Anaïs
...
The surgeon
Isabelle Renauld ...
Marguerite
...
Clémence
Jean-Michel Portal ...
Alain
Guy Tréjan ...
The minister
Xavier De Guillebon ...
Louis
Catherine Arditi ...
Adrien's mother
Paul Le Person ...
Adrien's grandfather
Circé Lethem ...
Adrien's sister
Elise Tielrooy ...
Nurse Cécile
Agathe Dronne ...
Adrien's future wife
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Storyline

The first days of WWI. Adrien, a young and handsome lieutenant, is wounded by a piece of shrapnel. He will spend the entire wartime at the Val-de-Grâce Hospital, in Paris. Five long years, and his life will change forever... Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 September 2001 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Die Offizierskammer  »

Box Office

Budget:

FRF 48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$998,447 (France) (28 September 2001)

Gross:

$998,447 (France) (28 September 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Adrien is passing through the village there is a British 18-pounder field gun visible in the background. The British were not involved in the fighting yet at this stage. The French relied almost exclusively on their "75s" and almost certainly did not use British guns. See more »

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User Reviews

An oustanding French literary adaptation
9 November 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Having found so much recent French cinema disappointing, I am always pleased to record the discovery of something really fine. Although "The Officers' Ward" belongs to the category of lengthy literary adaptaions, it is infinitely better than examples such as "Germinal", "Les Destinees Sentimentales" or the much hyped Pagnol films which I found particularly over-rated. An anti-war film dealing with facial disfigurement incurred in time of conflict, it chronicles one man's pain and his long period of adjustment to the way he physically presents to the world. In a sense his wound is inflicted not so much by being engaged in battle (he is on a reconnaissance sortie) but by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The other irony is that in the few scenes when we get to know the officer, Adrien, before his injury, he is presented in a none too sympathetic way as a rather boorish and selfish womaniser. In a way his disfigurement offers him a chance of redemption and it is his journey towards this state that gives the film its considerable power. Not that the end result is perfect: there is rather too much concentration on peripheral detail. What is in essence a chamber film is too often broadened out to encompass for example the grand sweep of the journey of the injured from the field to the hospital or to comment on the social injustice of the special treatment of the officer class compared with the rank-and-file. Perhaps too much concentration on conveying atmosphere, however beautifully done, detracts from what in the hands of a director as austere as Bresson for instance would have been an undoubted masterpiece. Nevertheless there is sufficient in Francois Dupeyron's work to assure it a place among the "top ten" of its year, the skill for instance with which the director only allows us imagine what Adrien must look like by observing the reactions on the faces of those who see him, so that by the time half-way through that we are actually given a glimpse we know exactly what to expect as we did in the case of "The Elephant Man". That and two wonderfully moving scenes, one where the three disfigured patients in the officers' ward, who until then have suffered in their own private worlds, suddenly become aware of each other and another where Adrien on his release into the the outside world manages to transform a little girl's fear at his appearance into something approaching fun by making their encounter in a train into a game. In moments such as these the film touches greatness.


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