Part of Mark Kermode's 'Europe in 25 films: the critics’ choice' - featured in The Observer.
Inspired by Herman Melville's 'Billy Budd', Claire Denis' ('High Life', 'Let the Sunshine In') 'Beau Travail' is a stunning combination of literature, music, poetry and dance that explores the near mythical world of the French Foreign Legion.
Denis Lavant stars as Galoup, a sergeant-major whose position and power are threatened when the bravery and heroism of new recruit Sentain (Grégoire Colin) attracts the attention of the platoon's commandant (Michael Subor). Enraged, Galoup plots Sentain's downfall, a doomed course of action that leads to his own undoing.
Director Denis creates a dark mounting tension which underlies the exquisite cinematography of Agnès Godard, whose stark visual style contrasts vividly with the graceful training rituals of the sculpted young soldiers.
A powerful examination of masculinity, 'Beau Travail' is mesmeric, sensual and extraordinarily beautiful.