Beau Travail review

This reworking of Herman Melville's novella Billy Budd, Sailor is a mesmerising film from French director Claire Denis.

Sergeant Galoup (Lavant) is recalling the events which led to his departure from the Foreign Legion. Stationed at a remote outpost, his affection for his commander (Subor) is threatened by the handsome, well-liked legionnarie Sentain (Colin). Fuelled by jealousy, he plots to eliminate the newcomer.

Denis tells her story through juxtaposing a series of arresting, often homerotic images, concentrating on the seemingly pointless drills and chores of military life. Superbly photographed and skilfully incorporating a diverse soundtrack, this is a work of beauty and mystery, which exerts a hypnotic grip over the spectator.

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