7.4/10
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69 user 66 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:

Claire Denis

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6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | Italian | Russian

Release Date:

3 May 2000 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Dobar posao See more »

Filming Locations:

Djibouti

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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 IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 The DuPont Show of the Month: Billy Budd (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Adia
Performed by Oliver N'Goma (as Olivier N'Goma)
© Editions Lusafrica and Olivier N'Goma
With lincense from Lusafrica.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very feminine film about masculinity
14 August 2000 | by dawidblejaSee all my reviews

The medium of film is blessed with the fact that with it, it is possible to exploit the merits of almost every artform. Film can make use of still imagery, like painting and photography, and three-dimensional (albeit in a virtual sense) imagery, like sculpture. It is music with visuals - theatre without physical restrictions. Hence, the possibilities of film are more numerous than any one other artform. However, the medium's potential remains largely unexplored, as very few film-makers venture far past conventional dialogue-based storytelling. As a means of story-telling, film is inferior to literature. The book, after all, is almost always better than the film. Dialogue-based storytelling is simply not the medium's forté. Claire Denis, with Beau Travail, has reminded us of this by making a beautiful , and powerful, film which is told largely through imagery. The subject of Beau Travail is very masculine: Men in the foreign legion - and in particular, one man's bitter obsession with another when he feels his 'alpha male' status threatened. The manner in which the film is made, however, is very feminine. Instead of a logical, cause-and-effect structure, the film has an ethereal fluidity. It is less made up of scenes, than it is of dozens of segments - most of them devoid of a narrative - which flow in and out past each other, sometimes reappearing later on, sometimes not. In one such segment, the tense relationship between Galoup and Sentain is shown as the two, eyes fixed, circle each other as if in some sort of surreal, hate-driven ritual. This moment, while being far removed from real human behaviour is, through its striking symbolism, as telling of the characters' inner experiences as any dialogue between them could be. Denis focuses on the details of the mens' lives in long, fascinated shots, observing almost every element of their lives - how they exercise, rest, fight, dance, swim, iron, eat, and hate. She sees the beauty of both the men and the world they inhabit, and shows this beauty as an integral (if not THE integral) part of the film. These many studied observations are small elements that, together, make up a remarkably rich whole. They form a film which has a depth and subtlety of perception which most male directors could not, in my opinion, achieve.

Written by Dawid Bleja


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