Lost in the Movies: Sight & Sound #7 Beau Travail (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #57)

Sight & Sound #7 Beau Travail (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #57)

A week after this Sight & Sound podcast miniseries covered the #1 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles with guest Ashley Brandt, I'm back for a solo discussion of another film I just watched for the first time: Claire Denis' 1999 Beau Travail. Placing high on both the critics' and directors' lists - and shooting way up the ranking since 2012 - the film is a fascinating, deeply unusual exploration of desire, discipline, and repression. Chronicling the idiosyncratic French Legion in former colony Djibouti with dreamlike choreography and elliptical plot machinations inspired by Herman Melville, Denis depicts a tense but indirect conflict between soldiers Galoup (Denis Lavant) and Sentain (Gregoire Colin). Gorgeous visuals and stirring music (ranging from modern opera to nineties Europop) make this film at least as much a sensory experience as a cerebral one, yet I found a lot to talk about with its themes and characterizations. In fact, the vivid viewing experience inspired me to go back and explore Billy Budd, teasing out what Denis changed from the century-old novella she used as inspiration as well as the significance of those changes: shifts in perspective, emphasis on certain characters rather than others, and how the historical context affects what we take away from the central struggles.

Subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts
You can also listen on Pinecast and Spotify
(and most places podcasts are found)


Sight & Sound Critics' Top 250 (Beau Travail at #7)
& Directors' Top 100 (Beau Travail at #14)

Billy Budd by Herman Melville (online text)

Pushed to the Edge by "Beau Travail" by Alex Ross (New Yorker)


No comments:

Search This Blog