Zavvi - The Home of Pop Culture

With her ravishingly sensual take on HERMAN MELVILLE’s Billy Budd, Sailor, CLAIRE DENIS (White Material) firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time. Amid the azure waters and sunbaked desert landscapes of Djibouti, a French Foreign Legion sergeant (Mauvais sang’s DENIS LAVANT) sows the seeds of his own ruin as his obsession with a striking young recruit (35 Shots of Rum’s GRÉGOIRE COLIN) plays out to the thunderous, operatic strains of BENJAMIN BRITTEN. Denis and cinematographer AGNÈS GODARD (Let the Sunshine In) fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism’s legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, hypnotic images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Agnès Godard and approved by director Claire Denis, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack 
  • New conversation between Denis and filmmaker Barry Jenkins 
  • New selected scene commentary with Godard 
  • New interviews with actors Denis Lavant and Grégoire Colin 
  • New video essay by film scholar Judith Mayne
  • New English subtitle translation 
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Girish Shambu
studio:
THE CRITERION COLLECTION
Run Time:
93 mins approx
Director:
Claire Denis
Certificate:
TBC
Actor:
Denis Lavant

Gregoire Colin
Theatrical Release Year:
1999
Number of Discs:
1
Region:
B
Brand:
The Criterion Collection

Beau Travail - The Criterion Collection

Blu-ray
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Zavvi - The Home of Pop Culture

With her ravishingly sensual take on HERMAN MELVILLE’s Billy Budd, Sailor, CLAIRE DENIS (White Material) firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time. Amid the azure waters and sunbaked desert landscapes of Djibouti, a French Foreign Legion sergeant (Mauvais sang’s DENIS LAVANT) sows the seeds of his own ruin as his obsession with a striking young recruit (35 Shots of Rum’s GRÉGOIRE COLIN) plays out to the thunderous, operatic strains of BENJAMIN BRITTEN. Denis and cinematographer AGNÈS GODARD (Let the Sunshine In) fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism’s legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, hypnotic images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Agnès Godard and approved by director Claire Denis, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack 
  • New conversation between Denis and filmmaker Barry Jenkins 
  • New selected scene commentary with Godard 
  • New interviews with actors Denis Lavant and Grégoire Colin 
  • New video essay by film scholar Judith Mayne
  • New English subtitle translation 
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Girish Shambu
studio:
THE CRITERION COLLECTION
Run Time:
93 mins approx
Director:
Claire Denis
Certificate:
TBC
Actor:
Denis Lavant

Gregoire Colin
Theatrical Release Year:
1999
Number of Discs:
1
Region:
B
Brand:
The Criterion Collection

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating : 4.0 / 5 (3 Reviews)
  • 1 5 star reviews
  • 1 4 star reviews
  • 1 3 star reviews
  • 0 2 star reviews
  • 0 1 star reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are independent and do not represent the views of Zavvi.

A curiously sterile experience

I hate to go against the critical consensus as I wanted to love this film, but in spite of beautiful photography and a mesmerising central performance by Denis Lavant it left me cold; for a film that is about obsession it is strangely coy about dwelling on the object of Sergeant Galoup's ultimately self-destructive hatred, to the point that for much of the early part of the film it's unclear which of the many shaved-headed legionnaires he is talking about. And in spite of the preponderance of male flesh, it's a curiously sterile experience; there are plenty of reviews relishing in this film's 'sensual' qualities, but for this viewer the odd (and, sorry, rather sloppily executed) choreography that runs through this film distances it from any real sense of pain or desire. One would expect this setting and subject matter to result in something visceral and vivd, but the whole film keeps an arm's length from its subject, and particularly cops out of a crucial moment of violence to an extent that makes it look rather hammy. It is much more successful when it comes to the study of Lavant's wonderfully craggy, inscrutable face, the camera capturing an incredible portrayal of a complex character, but if the images surrounding him are supposed to give us an insight into what is going on in his head then it falls short. Distant strains of Britten in the soundtrack only reminded me of a far more involving telling of this story. The DVD itself is as beautifully put together as one would expect from Criterion, and I look forward to the insights the supporting material will bring to this intriguing piece of cinema.

Review of Beau Travail

Beautifully shot and choregraphed film. Repays repeated viewing with the story about this band of brothers developing and follows the menage a trois of the main characters. Comes with a bunch of useful extras as always with criterion, one bump in the road - if I had waited a week or so after I had originally bought this I could have got it elsewhere without paying the p&p.

Auteur cinema

Denis (Let the Sunshine in, High Life) directs yet another atmospheric classic.

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