Throwback Thursday: Beau Travail

The Criterion Collection graced us with their selection of September releases this week and among the selections is the achingly erotic 1999 classic Beau Travail.


With her ravishingly sensual take on Herman Melville”s Billy Budd, writer-director Claire Denis firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time. Amid the azure waters and sun-baked desert landscapes of Djibouti, a French Foreign Legion sergeant (Denis Lavant) sows the seeds of his own ruin as his obsession with a striking young recruit (Gregoire Colin) plays out to the thunderous, operatic strains of Benjamin Britten. Denis and cinematographer Agnes Godard fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism’s legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema.


This new special edition of Beau Travail from the Criterion Collection includes a 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Agnes Godard and approved by director Claire Denis, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray; a new conversation between Denis and filmmaker Barry Jenkins; new selected scene commentary with Godard; new interviews with actors Denis Lavant and Gregoire Colin; a new video essay by film scholar Judith Mayne; brand-new English subtitle translation; and an essay by film critic Girish Shambu.


Watch a clip from Beau Travail below and click here to pre-order your copy. It’s coming to DVD and Blu-ray in September.