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New Wave touchstones: manic dervish disco cadenza

6 July 2010

Author : jeanne-salome-rochat

De l’or dans les hauteurs is a poem by Herman Melville that inspired Claire Denis in the direction of her rarely upsetting film Beau Travail (1999).

De l’or dans les hauteurs
Et de l’or dans le val,
La convoitise au cœur,
Pour le ciel nulle part
Pour l’homme nul bonheur.

that could be translated as

Gold in the mountain
And gold in the glen,
Greed in the heart,
Heaven having no part
And unsatisfied men.

The whole film unfolds like a continuous dance, and there’s as much choreography in the movements between shots as there is in the movements of the actors or the placement of the landscapes.

Below, the end scene, one of the most alive and electric moments in the film, where Denis Lavant performs a contained intensity cuts loose in a solitary disco dance to Corona’s Rhythm of the Night.



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