FILM: Summer Screenings - Beau Travail
Time & Location
About The Event
This summer the team have planned a day of screenings of films that each uniquely tell transgressive and boundary-breaking stories, and showcase vital and dynamic characters and filmmakers.
Each screening will include a special introduction by guest speaker, Dr Michael Lawrence, Head of Dept Film Studies at Sussex University
With Beau Travail, Claire Denis managed to cement her legacy as a fundamental part of modern European Cinema. Her fifth theatrical work, and arguably her most acclaimed, Beau Travail is loosely inspired by Herman Melville’s novella, Billy Budd Sailor, transporting the central power struggle to The French Foreign Legion in Djibouti.
Taking cues from Melville’s recurring intimations of homoeroticism, Beau Travail seeks to unravel the character of Adjudant-Chef Galoup (Denis Lavant) and his rivalry with the newly recruited Gilles Sentain (Grégoire Colin). Fueled by inadequacy, longing and confusion, Galoup vows to destroy Sentain with a scheme that plays on the soldier’s better nature.
Denis follows the cinematic traditions of icons from the French New Wave in order to recontextualise military lifestyle as graceful and physical over violent and cathartic. Set against the gorgeous desolation of late-century Africa, the film ruminates on the harsh reality of contemporary France and French Colonialism. At the heart of this character study is a struggle between the physical achievements of discipline and commitment, versus the timeless desire for individual expression and self-actualization.