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Beau Travail

Beau Travail

1999
Drama, War
1h 32m
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. (imdb)
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Beau Travail

1999
Drama, War
1h 32m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 65.69% from 847 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(847)
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Compact view
Rated 30 Dec 2010
85
92nd
Blew my mind on every level. The fascination with male body and the somewhat homoerotic training exercises is, at least not for me, a distraction - it's actually quite aesthetically satisfying. The loose narrative structure is incredibly relieving and disturbing at the same time. All this, combined with striking compositions of the Red Sea, implemented as a surreal counterpoint to the endeavouring life of the soldiers - simply put, an immense cinematic experience.
Rated 13 Feb 2010
3
28th
I thought this was well made and beautiful to look at but it's just one giant metaphor --and a quite boring one at that. It felt kind of impersonal to me, like she was trying to be profound for no other reason then to be different or original. There is a good movie somewhere in here, but it wasn't presented in the film. However, the ending scene is quite good.
Rated 13 Sep 2010
11
99th
The key to Claire Denis seems to be rhythm, (seamless) transitions, and - as the "Sight & Sound" review of 'White Material' notes - "the casual, even brutal form of exposition". Flow is key. Scenes follow each other naturally, never arbitrary, yet also never signposted. It runs deeper than narrative. "Beau Travail" is a prime example - and also a beautiful ode to the human body with some of the most sensual, raw and physical - yet never overtly erotic - footage this side of Leni Riefenstahl.
Rated 03 Mar 2009
60
26th
I appreciated the beautiful images of the Djibouti coastline, the rocky wasteland, and the salt flats, as well as the choreographed exercises, drills, and ironing. The emphasis here on the importance of ritual, contrasted with the free-flowing dancing, presents interesting material with which to interact. However, this struck me as a formal exercise lacking in feeling. While I can appreciate the craft, the film constantly kept itself at a distance--too far, in my view.
Rated 15 Apr 2015
59
39th
Blah, blah, blah, work and travel with Foreign Legion, blah, discover the most exotic places, blah, blah, do some sports, more blah and suddenly it becomes a post-modern version of Triumph of the Will combined with the Star Wars Kid... right. Deep.
Rated 01 May 2007
70
39th
This one of those films were "nothing happens". Well, that's not really true; there's a clearly defined plot that plays out over the course of the film, but it's rather simple. In place of a complex plot, the film gives us beautifully shot footage of the soldiers exercising, doing drills, digging, and performing other tedious tasks. It's intriguing and often very hypnotic to watch, but the film as a whole didn't capture my imagination.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
91
86th
Claire Denis crafted something special with this one. A hypnotic film about jealousy might not work for some (or even most) but by the time it ends it has cast some sort of unspeakable spell.
Rated 18 May 2012
97
92nd
Wonderfully hypnotic film with a truly sensational, if enigmatic, ending.
Rated 01 Apr 2011
100
99th
Holy shit was this good. It's a pretty strange film, really, but everything somehow works. Original, engaging, beautiful - incredibly well-shot and scored. It's a masterpiece, one of the very best films I've seen.
Rated 18 Apr 2014
60
40th
I know I'm very much in the minority but I just can't seem to really get into any of Claire Denis' films, at least among those I have seen. I just don't see her purported genius. Her films are always well-made and beautifully shot, with some truly great moments, but they never really engage me on a deeper emotional level. Beau Travail is no exception. I think I understood the film's intended subtext but it just doesn't convince emotionally or psychologically.
Rated 13 Sep 2021
56
62nd
(FULLY IRONED JACKET)
Rated 27 Sep 2010
81
64th
Slowly paced but despite the aimless feel there's just enough meat to the characters that it's interesting to see them go through their paces of training and relaxing. If I cared more about the lifestyle of the French Foreign Legion I'd love it, but as is I'm content with enjoying and appreciating it.
Rated 28 Jun 2021
85
76th
An excellent tone poem with fantastic focus on the movement of the human body, repression and jealousy, and just how bizarre it is that these dudes are here in the first place. Superlative in every way on a craft level, my only issue was that I felt it repeated itself too often, and I wish some of that time had been spent on character development instead, particularly for Sentain. The ending was unbelievably perfect.
Rated 21 Feb 2014
4
52nd
not really sure what denis is trying to do here. explore the rivalry and psyche of a jealous military man? juxtapose the overt masculinity of these soldiers against the more exotic nature of the country they're inhabiting? bore the tits off me? presumably she didn't intend the latter, but i didn't get much beyond that. add some empty narration and considerable tonal inconsistency, and it all adds up to a mess of meditative nothingness. only plus is some unusual and evocative sequences.
Rated 24 Dec 2016
43
31st
A slow and laboriously extended formalist, symbolist wank (and even literal, in terms of the half-naked male bodies constantly on display), wrapped around an insubstantial story. You may enjoy this if you enjoy the cinema of Marguerite Duras, by which Denis is heavily influenced. I don't.
Rated 26 Nov 2008
80
92nd
OMG SO GAY
Rated 22 Mar 2013
85
80th
Even the scenes in which the groups of soldiers dance feel like they are repressing who they are so that they can become part of a single unit, with the choral music laid over the top emphasising the element of ritual in their training. Perhaps that is why the ending - which should by all rites be ridiculous - is such a profound moment of expression. A beautiful piece of film-making, especially with the scenes upon the outright alien landscape provided by the salt flats.
Rated 26 Jan 2017
94
76th
Claire Denis gives us a beautiful, poetic film here, a meditation on masculinity and competition between men, which is skilfully built up to an inevitable tragic conclusion. Her eye for detail, and for composition is utterly masterful.
Rated 13 Jun 2008
98
98th
Ooh johnny johnny johnny why don't you join the foreign legion
Rated 20 Jul 2014
27
20th
Honestly, I am beginning to doubt criticker: This film was dry, boring and disappointing.
Rated 12 Feb 2015
9
90th
A man fondly recalls his time in Africa as a member of the French Foreign Legion. So good times as dudes do yoga in the desert, with plenty of shots of the bleak brown and blue African landscape, culminating in the most outrageous, greatest final scene/credits in movie history.
Rated 21 Nov 2020
90
91st
Took me a while to pick up what Denis was doing but once I did it was great. Basically a feature-length music video-slash-tone poem.
Rated 12 Nov 2020
60
35th
Sometimes you just have to shrug and say, "I don't get it." There's some beautiful cinematography, juxtaposing a salt desert with sweaty men's torsos. It's a little too atmospheric for me, with a theme of repression that went so far as to even repress most of the plot.
Rated 04 Sep 2021
85
92nd
Dancing on other people's stages.
Rated 18 Dec 2021
80
73rd
Rhythm of the Night by Corona is blaring, in all its strobelit effervescence, yet Lavant strolls in with little to show. Cigarette to lips, each footstep dragging well behind the tempo. He prowls the floor as if he's plotting each move. Fitting. Bobbing and weaving but keeping a composure, almost snake-like as if his iron sight hasn't rested. But by the time the bridge hits, he finally lets go, fully. Unchoreographed, for once in his life. One pure exhale after a life of puffing one's chest.
Rated 26 Apr 2022
94
98th
I always hesitate to write adjectives like sublime and transcendent about films, but at least for this one they are applicable, especially that ending. Repetitive training exercises & chores have the aim of lulling the viewer into sense of hypnosis, while the homoerotic male gaze, blank African faces and striking shots of the desert & sea provide oblique commentary on masculinity, imperialism and surrender of the individual into institutional ritual. Need to see this on a big screen one day.
Rated 02 Mar 2008
62
39th
# 769
Rated 31 Jan 2013
81
90th
Loneliness.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
85
85th
There's nothing else like it.
Rated 25 Nov 2023
50
16th
It looks nice. The last scene is great. That's about it. I don't understand why this movie is listed on so many"top films" lists.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
80
91st
In my opinion a remake of Buñuel's SIMON OF THE DESERT. Did not like it on the first viewing. Also, see my remarks on Bonello's DE LA GUERRE.
Rated 30 Nov 2011
70
40th
#603
Rated 29 Oct 2013
20
4th
Askerlik, Cubuti, Afrika, Lejyoner, Çölde yalniz kalmak (Cubutide görev yapan bir grup Fransız lejyonerinin yasadiklarina yer veriyor. Hikayenin kahramani ise Basçavus; hikaye onun agzindan aktariliyor. Çokça iç konuşma var. Açilis sekansi Tarkan'in sikidim sarkisi ile basliyor. Film oldukça bunaltici. Sadece finale yakin haraketleniyor.)
Rated 19 Dec 2008
61
22nd
789
Rated 13 Oct 2013
84
90th
As Galoup's memory is recalled through melancholic voiceovers, Claire elliptically constructs an entire narrative dedicated to the observation of the human body. In a way, she's mainly a director that conducts physical action to understand feeling and sensation -- that's why Beau Travail frames every detail in these soldiers' lives, from getting their clothes ironed to exercises in the sand, handling gear, free time in the sea, hard training under the sun and dancing in the night.
Rated 23 Jul 2018
93
96th
Has a movie ever so efficiently offered a passionate critique of toxic masculinity, imperialism, and the clandestine intersections between them? The film's an expression of the fall of empire and, with it, a dismantling of the mythology of manhood. It questions what happens to the personal identity of soldiers when stripped to a brutal essence, especially as they're forced to adapt to a foreign world. It's also gorgeous in its unusual visuals. It's a film of rare, understated power.
Rated 14 Feb 2011
40
97th
"Beau Travail is an allegorical tale of revenge and jealousy set within a French Foreign Legion outpost in Africa." - Ed Gonzalez
Rated 15 Jan 2010
70
40th
608
Rated 13 Jan 2013
80
64th
13 Ocak '13, Film, kusursuz bir duzen olarak kabul edebilecegimiz orduda, erkek olmayi, iktidar iliskilerini, 'kusursuz' erkek bedenleri araciligi ile anlatiyor. Galoup kiskanir, arzular ve onun kusuru da budur; insan olmak. Susan Sontag'ın dedigi gibi; kotu, kusursuzdur. Bu baglamda Beau Travail, antifasist bir filmdir. Kusurlu karakteri ile aslinda kusurluluga, insana ovgudur.
Rated 19 Feb 2024
80
87th
Slow and not eventful, but still a great pleasure to watch. Denis really captures the oppressive atmosphere in very interesting ways. I think the monologue is quite beautiful, elegant, quietly poetic.
Rated 15 Jun 2017
100
98th
Viewed June 14, 2017.
Rated 13 May 2010
65
25th
An unusual film with a free-form narrative. Galoup's sexuality is clear as the camera lingers on the glistening shirtless bodies of young men enduring rigid, and almost balletic, training routines. His repression is clear through numerous scenes and symbols of alienation and separation. The film certainly has a striking beauty to it at times, but Claire Denis often seems to be belaboring the point. But if you don't mind the languid repetitiveness of it, it can be an interesting experience.
Rated 19 Oct 2018
5
95th
Hypnotic. Much better for studying abstract and poetry than Lynch
Rated 11 May 2019
7
73rd
Slow, compelling, rhythmic .
Rated 04 Sep 2019
95
95th
Há exatos 20 anos estreava no Festival de Veneza. https://letterboxd.com/ladyspiggott/film/beau-travail/
Rated 18 Feb 2020
90
91st
It's like if Neil Breen had restrained himself on the political commentary to a lowkey level, didn't cast himself, and actually went to film school. Deadass her best, imo
Rated 26 Sep 2020
87
88th
Legionnaires opera. A rare gem.
Rated 01 Feb 2021
45
10th
Lovely ending but I preferred Napoleon Dynamite. Also, i'm not sure if "just kill yourself you boring dick" was an expected feeling towards the end of this moving picture full of sand, salt and gay ballet.
Rated 15 Mar 2021
75
75th
hug my bros
Rated 26 May 2022
50
51st
okay movie
Rated 18 Aug 2022
85
88th
When the chromatic Benjamin Britten horror-classical music kicked in it felt a bit too eagerly artistic - true. But at heart, i experienced it to be a very spherical, kind, loving portrait of a rather unique, not-so-kind context and cq indivuduals. It made me feel like dancing and throwing shit overboard in a way i can't really explain, and to me, that's top shelf.
Rated 13 Nov 2022
54
12th
This is pretty well made and everything, but I don't get the hype. At times beautiful and it flows well, but all a little boring for me.
Rated 06 Dec 2022
85
87th
Sometimes feeling like a formal exercise, Denis's combination of the male body and the East African landscape is immaculately constructed. Without much dialogue or plot, she shows loneliness and fragile masculinity with stark clarity. Beautiful.
Rated 10 Jan 2023
80
64th
Sensual, mundane, erotic, repulsive, thrilling, and captivating.
Rated 15 Jan 2023
65
46th
army is gay (disco)
Rated 29 Jan 2023
60
37th
Lower than was expected!!!
Rated 08 Feb 2023
37
15th
Man is thing was a slog to get through, what with the boring training sessions, boring swimming scenes, and incredibly boring club scenes. There is almost no dialogue outside of the dull voiceovers. There is absolutely no depth to anything.
Rated 17 May 2023
80
86th
The voice-over narration led me to expect a bit more closure but I might very well return to this one for the high quality filmmaking by Denis and her interesting chronotope.
Rated 10 Jul 2023
87
89th
Beautifully crafted story of masculinity and jealousy in many forms, set against a backdrop that is largely irrelevant.
Rated 31 Aug 2023
90
93rd
Like a 90s Raf Simons lookbook set to film. Exceptional balance of tenderness, tension through images of the hypnotic masculine. The ending is an all-timer.
Rated 10 Sep 2023
95
97th
"So Straight You're Gay" the movie: i am never going to be not fascinated by the all-male spaces, its power dynamics, (proto-)fascistic group tendencies and unexpected moments of camaraderie. These groups cannot survive or even be built without an "outside" and the point is to build it ("universal fraternity")
Rated 24 Sep 2023
41
33rd
The "story", such as it is--I prefer a bit more coherence in my narratives--of one angry French legionnaire, and we're never given any real clue as to why. Buff legionnaires doing strenuous training exercises and ironing shirtless in the desert...neither this nor the competition and jealousy seem to be intended as homoerotic--it would have been far more interesting if it had. At least Denis Lavant is interesting enough to hold the camera.
Rated 22 Nov 2023
65
64th
Plodding and repetitive. Beautiful shots and I genuinely enjoyed the score.
Rated 29 Nov 2023
67
89th
Needed gay sex.

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