This is a coming of age drama adapted from the 1952 Yves Gibeau novel of the same title. A young anti-militarist is forcibly sent to military school by his father. He's a bookish pacifist who endures being bullied by his superiors all throughout school, not out of weakness rather out of strength to deny violence it's coveted reciprocity. On the eve of his much anticipated graduation day, Word War II ensues and swaps out the freedom he earned for the brutality of its first front lines. An original score by French composer Phillipe Sarde with photography directed by Yves Boisset sets the atmosphere of 1932 in France.