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

Michel Subor previously played Bruno Forestier 37 years earlier in Godard's Le Petit Soldat (1963). See more »

Quotes

Commander Bruno Forestier: If it weren't for fornication and blood, we wouldn't be here.
See more »

Connections

Version of Billy Budd (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Tourment d'amour
Performed by Franky Vincent
Sony ATV Music
With license by WAGRAM Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
All the ingredients of a superb film...just not mixed yet!
20 May 2006 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

BEAU TRAVAIL is a curious film. It is based on the story 'Billy Budd' by Herman Melville and on the operatic adaptation by EM Forster of Benjamin Britten's magnificent BILLY BUDD and has all the right pieces in place to make a fine, updated adaptation of the story. Unfortunately the script fails to find the message of the story and so there is much correct atmosphere but little character development.

The original story revolves around a warship (The Rights o' Man) in the French and English war that takes on recruits while at sea. The Captain relates the story of how he was forced to hang the magnificently beautiful and loved new recruit Billy Budd because of an accidental death in part due to Budd's fatal flaw - his stammer. The Master at Arms notices Billy from the beginning as a creature of physical beauty and there is a strong physical attraction to the lad. Unable to cope with his feelings, the Master at Arms plots for the downfall of the object of his desire and lust and it is his manipulation that results in Billy's hanging, nearly causing a mutiny by Billy's shipmates. Billy is a Parsifal character - a 'guileless fool', who even in his sentencing to death still blesses the Captain of the ship.

All well and good. The film here transplants much of this tale to a Foreign Legion outpost in Africa, and much of the above is insinuated. The appropriation is so complete that portions of Britten's opera BILLY BUDD are used to set scenes. But there the magic stops. The 'master at arms' does not seem to desire the beautiful recruit but for some unexplained reason seeks to have him gone. Such a shame. It is as though the writer wanted to avoid homosexual overtones of the original and as a result the characters have no where to go. All of the actors are good, the scenery is bleak (a desert here instead of the bleak sea of the original)and appropriate, the music is an eclectic mix that works. All the ingredients are here to make a fine film, but it just doesn't come off. The director needed to see the old film version of Billy Budd starring Terrence Stamp to see that pitting the evil, sadistic, lusty master at arms against the virile, sensitive and good young man can and does work well.


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