From "Le Défroqué" onwards ,most of Leo Joannon's movies are steeped in Sulpitian kitsch ,an indomitable faith in God and self-sacrifice.
This may be seemingly a war movie :during Indo-China war ,French soldiers and their protégés ,Christian refugees ,take refuge in a fort ("Fort Du Fou"= the lunatic's fort);in the army there are also Vietnamese recruits "traitors to their cause" for the Viet-Minhs .
Anyone who knows Joannon's immediate past would expect the worst :against all odds,the director managed this absurd task pretty well.
The fort is surrounded by the enemy,the Minhs ,and the besieged are eagerly waiting for a convoy of reinforcements ,food and medicines.Inside ,the soldiers are feeling down in the dumps but the -Vietnamise- priest has the children sing "Il Est Né Le Divin Infant " and "Je Suis Chretien " in their own language .
All around the fort,loudspeakers scream at imperialism,shout angrily at the traitors and the French lieutenant ;blowing hot and cold,the propaganda and the messages become more and more personal :the captain's private life is revealed:he secretly married a Vietnamese woman who cheated on him with the famous lieutenant.
Joannon,with a great economy of means ,succeeded in building a tension,a stifling atmosphere with those voices which seem to come from nowhere ;true to himself,he praises self-sacrifice (see "Le Défroqué " "Le Secret De Sur Angèle" "Le Désert De Pigalle") ,but this time without becoming ridiculous.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?