7.4/10
6,304
70 user 63 critic

Beau travail (1999)

Unrated | | Drama, War | 3 May 2000 (France)
This film focuses on an ex-Foreign Legion officer as he recalls his once glorious life, leading troops in Africa.

Director:

On Disc

at Amazon

6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The relationship between a father and daughter is complicated by the arrival of a handsome young man.

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Alex Descas, Mati Diop, Nicole Dogué
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Amidst turmoil and racial conflict in a Francophone African state, a white French woman fights for her coffee crop, her family and ultimately for her life.

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Christopher Lambert, Isaach De Bankolé
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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 »

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Grégoire Colin, Alice Houri, Jacques Nolot
Chocolat (1988)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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 »

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Isaach De Bankolé, Giulia Boschi, François Cluzet
Sea Sorrow (2017)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An examination of the historical context for the current migrant crisis.

Director: Vanessa Redgrave
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Emma Thompson
L'intrus (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An emotionally cold man leaves the safety of his Alpine home to seek a heart transplant and an estranged son.

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin, Yekaterina Golubeva
Son frère (2003)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two brothers with a problematic relationship in the past, find together again when the elder one gets a dangerous disease and asks his brother to accompany him to several doctors.

Director: Patrice Chéreau
Stars: Bruno Todeschini, Éric Caravaca, Nathalie Boutefeu
Joe Hill (1971)
Certificate: GP Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

About the life and death of the legendary Swedish/American agitator Joe Hill.

Director: Bo Widerberg
Stars: Thommy Berggren, Anja Schmidt, Kelvin Malave
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

On the night of their tenth anniversary, Doctor Rene Richard accidentally discovers that his wife, actress Madeleine Richard, has been having an affair with a disturbed artist, Daniel ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Delannoy
Stars: Michèle Morgan, Jean Gabin, Walter Chiari
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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 »

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Yekaterina Golubeva, Richard Courcet, Vincent Dupont
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Inspector Maigret is traveling to the French countryside to visit his friend, the duchess of Saint-Fiacre. She has received a letter recently stating that she will die soon. A few days ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Delannoy
Stars: Jean Gabin, Michel Auclair, Valentine Tessier
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Isabelle, Parisian artist, divorced mother, is looking for love, true love at last.

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Xavier Beauvois, Philippe Katerine
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Galoup
... Commander Bruno Forestier
... Gilles Sentain
Richard Courcet ... Legionnaire
... Legionnaire
Adiatou Massudi ... Legionnaire
Mickael Ravovski ... Legionnaire
Dan Herzberg ... Legionnaire
Giuseppe Molino ... Legionnaire
Gianfranco Poddighe ... Legionnaire
Marc Veh ... Legionnaire
Thong Duy Nguyen ... Legionnaire
Jean-Yves Vivet ... Legionnaire
Bernardo Montet ... Legionnaire
Dimitri Tsiapkinis ... Legionnaire
Edit

Storyline

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 <lhw@sfs.org.sg>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

3 May 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Bella tarea  »

Filming Locations:


Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,003, 2 April 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$247,606, 19 November 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Commander Bruno Forestier: [subtitled version]
[in Russian]
Commander Bruno Forestier: Why did you join the Legion?
Legionnaire: [in Russian] Commandant, you know what it's like in Russia. No money, no work. I was in the army there for two years. I fought for Russia. But it's impossible to fight just for an ideal. An ideal that just keeps changing. You know what I mean?
Commander Bruno Forestier: [in Russian] What ideal?
See more »

Connections

Version of Billy Budd (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Excerpts from Billy Budd
Opera by Benjamin Britten
Decca Universal Music France - Boosey & Hawkes - Musiciens Union
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
An effective study on what military life does to human expression.
21 June 2000 | by See all my reviews

Claire Denis' Beau travail, alongside Bruno Dumont's L'Humanité, is a French film I wouldn't suggest to those who get easily bored in a movie theater. But if one is willing to forget the conventions of narrative cinema and accept the sometimes documentarian, sometimes corporeally poetic way Beau travail approaches it's subject, this should be a true treat for both the eyes and the mind.

The story of the movie is thin as paper: Galoup, a sergeant in the French Foreign Legion, has to deal with his jealousy when a new recruit called Sentain becomes a hero in the eyes of his men. Alongside Galoup's soldiers, the only other important player in this bizarre drama is Forestier, Galoup's superior, who he obviously admires, but who doesn't share his resentment for Sentain. Gradually, Galoup's envy for Sentain becomes too much for him to take, and his downward spiral begins.

Denis depicts, with great sense for details, how the military routines dominate every aspect of the legionnaires' (and especially Galoup's) life. This is portrayed effectively in the beginning of the film, when the soldiers' crude attempts to dance in a disco are compared to their beautiful, elegant movements during physical training. To Galoup, military discipline has become the only form of self-expression, and for this reason he hates Sentain, who tries to bring a little more humanity to the camp. Or does he? A curious aspect of the film is that we never see any of the things Galoup, in his narrative, accuses Sentain of. Only in the end Sentain acts against Galoup's strict orders, and this could be seen as counterreaction to Galoup's obvious hatred and unreasonable forms of punishment; the humane deed Sentain commits is something any soldier who isn't thoroughly programmed would do. So, since the story is told from Galoup's point of view, it could be argued that he has become paranoid, that as soldier without a war or an enemy he is only looking for an object to his emotional output (which the military life has distorted into hatred and envy), and Sentain, because of his one act of heroism, happens to be an apt target.

The above, however, isn't the only way to interpret the story. It is quite possible that Sentain acts the way Galoup says he does, and this turns the movie into a triangle (or a rectangle) drama between Galoup, Sentain and his men, possibly even his superior. The only thing Galoup's seems to (or is able to) care about is the military, and disciplining the legionnaires is his way of showing his affection. But this balance is broken by Sentain, whom the men admire, and who's actions are approved by Forestier. Since Galoup fears he is about to lose the very substance of his life, he reacts the only way is familiar with: by tightening his rule. Galoup's behaviour is, of course, bound to have repercussions, but there is no other option he can possibly think of.

Besides the way military life takes control of the men, Denis' other obvious point is to show how absurd and pointless the army routines seem in the eyes of an outsider. During the film we see countless training numbers and war excercises and witness the soldiers dull everyday life, but never do we see them doing anything useful. At one time the legionnaires build a camp in the desert, but the only reason for this seems to be Galoup's desire to get some action to the bored men. Beau travail's antimilitaristic theme becomes even more obvious, when the legionnaires' life is shown in contrast of the Africans who neighbour them. These people shepherd their herd, weave mats, sell things, make food, and watch with astonishment as the soldiers dig a hole in the middle of nowhere. The personal drama in the film becomes even more tragic, when Denis shows just how meaningless is the system that produces these kind of human beings. In the terrific final scene of the film we see the whole scale of Galoup's desperation as it becomes obvious, that he could never be anything else than a sad, retired army officer with no chance of fitting into the civilian world.


42 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 70 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial