It's 1918 and all is strangely quiet on the Bulgarian front, where a French regiment is fighting an odd sort of war with crossbows and slingshots. After the armistice the unit is posted to Bucharest, where discipline slackens (armed robbery, desertion) and trench pals Conan and Lt Norbert fall out over questions of loyalty. To their dismay the regiment entrains eastward to crush the Bolsheviks, and further slaughter ensues. A peacetime coda shows Conan, aggressive dynamo in combat, pottering ineffectually around his provincial backwater. For all the lavish production values and thoughtful performances, this adaptation of Roger Vercel's novel is disappointing. The narrative lacks focus, and Tavernier's fastidiousness (no horrors of war here) rules out the sort of close-up detail that might have jolted the thing to life.
Cast and crew
Jean Cosmos, Bertrand Tavernier
Philippe Torreton Samuel Le Bihan Bernard Le Coq Catherine Rich Claude Rich Claude Brosset