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Bulgaria near the end of World War I: Conan, warrior and wolf, leads a band of 50 ruthless French fighters who love hand-to-hand combat. Their motto: "We forgot to take prisoners, Captain." At war's end, the unit goes to Bucharest, where Conan tries to keep them out of trouble, defends them when they behave as warriors, and finds he's unsuited for peacetime. His friendship with Norbert, a teacher turned lieutenant, is tested when Norbert accepts a job as court-martial prosecutor because he's learned that Conan will be facing charges and he wants to protect his friend. When they are sent to the Russian border to fight Bolsheviks, Conan is back in his element and Norbert is off the hook.Written by
I saw this film for two reasons - one is Bertrand Tavernier, the other is the fact that much of the action of the film takes place in my country of birth Romania. I was disappointed.
The historical background of the story takes place in the last couple of months of the first world war and in the year that followed. The heroes are two French officers, one of them is the commander of a special unit which turns the fate of battles on the war fields with brutality and efficiency, but cannot find its place when the war ends. The soldiers are part of an unfortunate minority of the French army which remained conscripted in the area, which was undergoing political changes - empires fell down, new nations where raising and forming their national states, borders where moving and still fought, and revolutions were threatening the order sought by the victorious powers.
Unfortunately nothing of the changes around are reflected in any way by the film, which focuses on the fate of the French soldiers and officers and not only misses completely the events around but also presents the local people in an folklorist and non flattering manner. Neither does the film say anything new that was not already said in the great films about the absurdity of war in general or the cruelty of WWI in particular. The story is composed of several sequences not too well related, acting is good but cannot save the day, and seeing this film is overall an experience to forget for these who saw it and to avoid for these who did not see it.
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