A War Fable
Five French soldiers injure themselves in the hope of an early dismissal from WWI duty. Instead they are sent into the gap between the French and German trenches as a punishment for their self-mutilation. Death seems certain. Our heroine is informed that here fiancee died in a senseless battle. She doesn't believe he is dead and spends the rest of the movie trying to uncover the truth. The story is intermingled with frequent flashbacks. She finds many connections and cover ups in her long journey to reunite with her fiancee.
The actors put in a strong performance. This is a large cast and each of them balances the reality of WWI and the fantastic fable that the plot unveils.
This movie is beautifully shot. Much of it is in "brownscale" with a richness that is unexpected. The modern camera tricks with post production are constrained and skillfully used. There are strings of long shots that match well with the story line. The director makes use of Le Grand Guignol - the French fascination with absurd horror. There are moments when the soldiers are blown up or people being punished that the violence seems too vivid, but in the end, it adds to the fable-like quality of the movie.
Jodie Foster makes a cameo in this movie speaking fluent french.
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