BEAU TRAVAIL
1999, Janus Films, 90 min, France, Dir: Claire Denis

Considered by many to be Claire Denis’ masterpiece, BEAU TRAVAIL sets Herman Melville’s classic novella Billy Budd in a distinctly modern milieu, telling a universal tale of jealousy while mining the intricate details of the French Foreign Legion’s presence in the Gulf of Djibouti. Tuning in to the haptic qualities and emotional registers of the physical world in a way only Denis can, the film examines what is both on and beneath the surface of this dry, salty environment, juxtaposing it with the glistening, sweat-ridden skin of its all-male subjects. The journey begins backward, as former Foreign Legion officer Galoup (Denis Lavant) longingly recalls his days as a leader of men. As we soon discover, his downfall involves a homoerotic jealousy so destructive that the lives it touches will never be the same. Featuring Grégoire Colin and Michel Subor.


LE PETIT SOLDAT
THE LITTLE SOLDIER
1963, Rialto Pictures, 88 min, France, Dir: Jean-Luc Godard

For its unblinking look at torture in the Algerian War, director Jean-Luc Godard’s follow-up to BREATHLESS was banned by the French government for three years. A French intelligence agent (Michel Subor) is sent to assassinate a leader of the National Liberation Front of Algeria; on the way, he falls for a young woman (Anna Karina, in her feature debut), whose ties to the resistance prove her undoing. In French with English subtitles.


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