Beau Travail (1999)

This is going to be an uncharacteristically short post. Long story short, I got my final COVID vaccine on Monday (hooray!) and it’s got me a little spacey as I write this on Tuesday. So let’s get in, get out, and share a YouTube video along the way.

Beau Travail (translates to Good Work) is a French film about soldiers in Djibouti that is loosely based off the Herman Melville novella, Billy Budd. It follows Galoup (Mr. Denis Lavant), an officer who gets intensely jealous of the conventionally handsome and well liked soldier Sentain (Grégoire Colin). After setting up a situation where Sentain gets in trouble for punching Galoup, he’s sent into the desert as punishment and is expected to find his way back. But Galoup sabotaged his compass, so it appears that Sentain dies (he doesn’t). Galoup’s duplicity is found out and he’s kicked out of the French Foreign Legion. Then there’s the end…

Full disclosure, I watched this movie just for its ending. Galoup is a man who avoids dancing, but after he’s out of the military that apparently changes. This stiff, rigid man breaks it down on the dance floor to Corona’s “Rhythm of the Night” (YouTube link provided). Stay after the credits start, he’s not done. And I mean, he fuckin’ dances like he’s held it in for decades and is finally allowed to be free. Get it! But what about the rest of the movie? Well, part of the payoff for this ending is that this is the polar opposite of his character in the rest of the film, which in part means that not a lot happens. I absolutely love that ending, but the rest of the film is… a little slow and dry. Love the suggestions of homoeroticism, but it’s very much an art film, so not really my jam.

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One thought on “Beau Travail (1999)

  1. Pingback: Eraserhead (1977) | Chwineka Watches

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