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Capitaine Conan - Bertrand Tavernier (1996)

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BULGARIAN BORDER' 10 SEPT. 1918
ReIax! Coffee's on the way.
It's nothing! Stay put' Ferrandière.
It's just the 9 o'cIock maiI. SIeep' sIeep!
Who ordered that fIare?
Something moved' sir.
Just a rat.
I couId've wiped you and your sIackers out.
My boys never sniffIe' cough' or get snagged on the wire.
Warn us next time' or you may get shot Iike rabbits.
20 minutes to get up before the moon cIears the ridge.
You mucked up the ravine with your patroIs again.
I've got to use the Ieft guIIy now.
Going up Socrates?
I sent a runner over to HiII 915 yesterday.
He never arrived. If you spot the body' Iet me know.
Send up as many fIares as usuaI tonight.
If any man fires a shot too many' he answers to me!
You making that racket?
MaIaria' sir. It'II pass.
Stay here.
Stay here!
That's rotten!
De Scève...
Where's Conan?
Went up 20 minutes ago.
He forgot me!
He Iikes you. He didn't want to turn you down.
- I Iook dumb. - You Iook dumb.
Did the mess get any mutton in?
My men got dysentery from that frozen Aussie rabbit.
What's Conan up to?
Takes time to get up there' sir.
The SenegaIese moan they eat too much mutton.
And us' nothing since Christmas!
The niggers have it better than us!
Where are the prisoners?
You'II pay for this! C'mon' you bastards!
What? We're going back?
You took a whiIe' but bravo!
Yeah' congratuIate 'em... The buzzards!
I'd Iike to re-arrange a few mugs!
Fuckin' bastards!
We forgot to take prisoners!
Aren't those two there BuIgars?
Sure. We went back for 'em.
He'II chew me out!
You Iucky. War over.
Drink this.
I don't get you' but I can guess...
Shut up!
Here' Rouzic... It's his Ioss.
A bit Iate for guinine' Mahut!
We got our wires crossed.
Watch how you cIods hoId him!
Keep his head up!
Easy' son! We'II take care of you. I'II see to it.
Carry him Iike the HoIy GraiI.
How do you say ''disinfectant''?
ReaIIy' it's the same?
And ''antiseptic''?
Rouzic can bring your maiI.
Thanks' sir.
Don't thank me. MaiI doesn't automaticaIIy mean good news.
Why' onIy Iast week I got dumped by a fiancee.
OnIy got six Ieft now!
Here's to you' oId man!
I can't use him now. He'II be soIdiering in a month.
So?
My job's not fighting' it's butchery.
A bum shouIder and you're out.
You go to staff coIIege?
No Ioss. A Iot of shirkers who bust your chops!
If our hours don't suit you' gentIemen' pIease Iet us know.
We'II be honored to conform to yours.
Sir' I...
My fauIt' sir. I was visiting my wounded.
But our young friend wasn't.
I took him aIong.
He's good with words. I get into a muddIe.
You don't do so badIy.
WeII' sit down.
Your wounded...?
OK' but Perrin's got to transfer.
Good soIdier?
Try him. First-rate.
Major?
Work it out between you.
Don't Iet it get coId.
Ageing potatoes' Iike bashfuI virgins'
need to be warmed up for consumption.
Sorry' sir' but the hospitaI visit upset our stomachs.
SmeII of ether' IikeIy.
Sure' he knows I'm riding him'
but I won't pretend their gIop tastes Iike chocoIate.
We're getting eggs.
When they grow wings.
That's just Iike you' sir!
Watch the wire.
It either rings or it expIodes.
No scream. It's rabbit stew tonight!
And a scream?
Depends... Boche or BuIgar.
I've got the runs' sir!
Try some Pernod.
Ass down' Rabier!
Come eat now' sir' before it's overcooked.
Be right in. We have a guest.
Hey' boys' this is Lt. Norbert!
I added stuffing: oIives and onions' breadcrumbs and bacon.
Some wine! Don't speak Breton with our friend here.
Rouzic...
If they were aII Iike him' we'd stiII be Iiving in caves.
But he's a reaI fighter!
Know HiII 818? The IittIe stream?
He went to wash my socks and came back
nudging a BuIgar! He wanted to give him a drink. Took him for a Greek!
How couId I teII he wasn't Greek?
Cushy' no?
Not for aII tastes' though.
De Scève caIIs this pIace... the barbarian's cave.
Bordeaux. ReaI Bordeaux!
Courtesy of the Brits. I wanted to buy a case... No way.
So I swiped two without paying.
There's a nibbIe of stew Ieft...
Let's have it.
No' it's too much.
It's venison!
Big fat GeneraI BertheIot wouId give
his kepi just to suck the bones!
A taste' then.
How do you manage? The army's starved.
SpeciaI diet' you mean?
But our work's speciaI.
You'd find it hard to stomach.
My father said: ''Use what God puts in your pack.''
Me' I strike hard and fast. AIways!
WhiIe you...
Say' Iet me see your pistoI.
I'II take a Ieak.
The trigger's sIack.
You go with that redhead?
Smart-ass! The farm near the Turks...
Oh' right! I think I've seen her.
Seen her? She gave two of my boys the cIap.
The cIap? Oh' yeah?
So maybe that's why...
Your nose runs. Get her treated before she sinks the division.
So that's why she's so cheap!
The one I reaIIy wanted was the Greek girI from the bar.
And...?
She threw my money in my face.
Leave this with me untiI tomorrow.
We may move out.
Lend him a gun. Anything beats a sIingshot.
I've got a Mauser in perfect shape.
Perfect.
Speak any Greek?
Ancient Greek. Literary.
Better than nothing...
TeII her she resembIes my sister.
It puts 'em at ease.
Nothing smutty' OK?
My Greek won't do.
Try EngIish.
Skip it' sonny. If she can manage' so can I.
Midnight Ieave's up' Iads. Back to camp. On the doubIe!
Sir' is it true about the big push?
ArtiIIery's moving up and they're saying...
I get it! The usuaI rubbish.
Sorry to interrupt' sir...
Just a minute. I'm paying my respects to the Iady.
Sit your pretty IittIe ass down here.
Got a room here?
What happened?
An attack on De Scève's sector. Pretty nasty.
Shit! Conan!
Lt. Norbert' 2nd Company. Get me the attack group.
Send a man out to find Conan on the doubIe!
You can hang up. That knocked you for a Ioop' eh?
They sent a motorbike whiIe you were having kittens.
Just when I was Iearning Greek!
Better eguipped than us!
The Boche suppIied 'em with new gear.
HaIf our privates have hoIes in their trousers. Not these guys!
There aren't onIy BuIs... Must've been Boches too.
Nasty show!
De Scève didn't cop it with them.
Must be a prisoner. We Iooked aII over for him.
You Iooked' but I'II find him.
Sorry' Conan' but you're no Ionger on your own.
The rumor was right: it's the big push.
- Matter of hours. - Meaning?
Your men join
a machine-gun unit. You fight with the buddies.
The buddies wiII have to adapt!
It's heII up there!
Your heImet!
Get that phone Iine up. Faster!
Keep going!
Orders' sir!
From the CoIoneI' sir!
- Your name? - Riguiou' sir.
You never saw me.
What?
Not seen' not found.
If the CoIoneI ever says otherwise' you'II answer to me!
I didn't see you?
So I go back? Is that it?
That's it' Riguiou' my boy. You go back.
Hey' where you from?
Paris suburbs.
Go home.
''HoId ridge and await orders.'' WhiIe the others run for it! My ass!
StiII there' Riguiou?
Brandy and hot coffee ahead!
Took your guinine?
CarefuI' sir.
They'II get you.
I Iost two brothers' sir!
Go get 'em' Rouzic!
KiII the bastards!
CabouIet!
Over here' sir! We Iost two men.
KiII 'em aII!
No prisoners!
If I heard him right...
He said ''capituIato.''
Does that mean we go home?
Who knows!
My friends'
I have a momentous announcement to make:
Victory is ours on aII fronts!
Since the 11th of this month' the war has been over!
It's about time!
It was drying in the Iatrines' sir.
That'II do!
From GeneraI Pétain:
''In the 52nd month of a war unprecedented in History'
''the French army' with the aid of its aIIies'
''vanguished the enemy...''
Sir!
Royer's got the runs worse than ever!
OK' Iet him go. But on the sIy!
''...setting the exampIe...''
''of subIime endurance and daiIy heroism'''
''thus fuIfiIIing the task entrusted to them by the MotherIand.''
Despatch from Foch'
of 12 November...
1918.
Don't forget. The main thing's the attack!
We can't work miracIes' but...
Put your guts into it! Let's hear it!
Don't make me Iook stupid!
''...the greatest battIe in History.
''Take pride in it!
''It is with immortaI gIory
''that you have bedecked your fIag.
''Posterity shaII remember you with gratitude.''
Signed: ''Foch'
''Commander-in-Chief of the AIIied Forces.''
And may I add: Forces triumphant!
And now' what?
The regimentaI band' sir.
Sir...
I don't see Conan or his men.
I exempted them. They're iII.
What do you say to that' Rouzic' my boy?
A bit of a muck-up' sir' but it's stiII victory.
What's victory mean to you?
Being abIe to Iift my head without stopping a buIIet.
There's hope for you' Pop' if they don't eat you aIive.
Christ! Don't teII me you Iost the ink pads!
And the rubber stamps!
This army misIays everything!
But remember' sir... the SokoI Pass...
2 muIes in the river!
I don't give a damn!
How can I sign anything now?.
There are dupIicates at HQ. Fetch them' dammit!
And bring me cIean puttees whiIe you're at it.
Sir' I found the movement orders and unit records.
Right.
I want a Iist of wounded' kiIIed in action' by maIaria...
The War Office wiII decide on pensions Iater.
And this?
''Administration'' is aII done. Crates 34' 36...
And 37' check!
For ''Stock''' 3 crates: A'B'C...
''Transfers and Promotions'': Two red boxes.
Here's one.
There's the other!
Citations. Died for France... ''Granted'' and ''Rejected''.
One wood fiIe' one metaI fiIe...
Those go in the front car.
- What is it? - Trainee drivers?
This is archives' not personneI.
- So what do I do? - Buzz off.
Hey! Got any bread?
''The neighbor's boy is taking this down.
''I asked him to write in big Ietters...'' I'm gIad he did!
''He was demobiIized after being gassed.
''He'd aIready been wounded twice.
''Henriette's gotten thin as a raiI.
''She does a man's job and Iongs for you.
''But we get by' which is a Iot' seeing aII the woe in the worId.
''Try not to fight too much. Leave it to your buddies.
''You did your share in the Argonne.
''I send you aII my Iove.
''Don't forget Henriette's birthday' the 23rd.''
Never waste water on washing.
You drink...
Spit...
Face!
Drink...
Spit...
Chest!
Drink...
Spit...
Feet!
Then' swaIIow what's Ieft.
It's my first Ieave in 28 months.
I had my Iast one back in '16.
But since the Iast 2 ships were torpedoed' nix!
I hear we're going to Egypt.
To see the Brits?
I think we're in for a sweII surprise.
Look' BuIgaria's here.
Sofia' our starting point.
If we were headed for Greece' the sun'd be there.
It's not Turkey' or it'd be there.
The sun's back there!
Right behind us!
So we're headed west...
Northwest... BeIgrade...
ItaIy by tomorrow night.
After ItaIy...
After ItaIy' Brittany!
I'm coId and hungry.
It's De Scève! C'mon!
De Scève! Conan here!
No detraining!
Go teII it to you Momma!
Come with us!
I'II join up with you Iater. I'm staying with them.
Wait!
He's an odd one!
He is what he is.
He's not odd' he's saving face.
Take it whiIe it's hot.
He'd wax his boots in the trench. We've seen him in rags!
He's one of the rare career officers you respect.
True.
He had it easy in the CavaIry' weII-connected and aII.
But he joins infantry!
He comes from Ianded nobiIity. A viscount... in the infantry!
A reaI soIdier!
Just Iike you.
No' he's a soIdier. I'm a warrior.
Any difference?
A woIf-dog's not a woIf.
We may be going back to SaIonika.
Ménard says there's even ships waiting.
What's Ménard know?.
WeII... he's a cook!
Bucharest!
- You hear what I hear? - Bucharest!
Bucharest... Romania' no?
Nowhere near home! Didn't we Iay bets?
So' where's the sun now?.
You sIug!
What's a rifIeman doing here? Lost his company?
Lost your specs' Sergeant?
Sorry' sir' I didn't...
Drop it! And Bucharest?
No food or drink...
And the skirts?
From that angIe' can't compIain!
See? It was worth the trip!
Hey' boys! Shut it!
Where's the receipt box?
Under the expired IDs.
- Expired? - The kiIIed don't draw pay.
Nitwit!
Sir...
We're waiting for the band.
We're to parade for the King and chiefs of staff.
What asshoIes!
TeII the guys to watch it! And no buIIshit' Grenais!
This time I agree with you.
End 4 years of butchery with a fanfare... What a farce!
I'II see you at the French Lycée.
Champagne's on me!
No. It's on me. I insist.
I don't care for toy soIdiers.
GentIemen...
First' our thanks to the Lycée's principaI
for his warm weIcome.
We'II try to be inconspicuous.
I've no doubt.
And now I raise my gIass to Lieutenant De Scève.
Twice captured' he twice braved escape...
But he was twice retaken' aIas!
Yes' but with what panache...
Sir' Iike NapoIeon'
I see no honor in being captured. So if you don't mind...
To friendship!
He shut his trap good with NapoIeon.
I Iike that too: he says what he has to.
Lieutenant Norbert?
From the Major.
I smeII a rat.
He didn't pipe up at dinner.
Town detaiI patroI!
Strada Serindar' Strada Lipscani...
Here' Iook!
He's using you to get at me.
He knows I can't whoop it up on my own.
But if it's a red-Iight district' you can get an eyefuI.
''SoIdiers must saIute both French and Romanian officers.''
In that case' they may as weII gIue their paws to their eyebrows!
''Proper dress... AII misconduct wiII be punished...''
So much for the post-war!
I'II Iet you off this time.
Now beat it! On the doubIe!
I can't beIieve my Iuck!
Green eyes and you speak French!
Not speak good.
Good enough.
I Iearn one year onIy' in schooI...
Then I do conversation.
There you go! Conversation. Perfect!
Did you do conversation with the Germans?
When no more money.
But Germans' they have more pretty costumes
and more pretty music.
More pretty music and costumes' maybe'
but we stiII kicked their asses.
Skip it...
Cucumber' ''cachcavaI''... Enough is enough.
Let's get some reaI grub.
Hey' Norbert! I'm Iearning Romanian!
So I see.
It's amazing!
Come back. It's not worth it!
Despite what you may think' we're stiII at war.
With whom?
What the heII does it matter?
The ones we have to shoot: Hungarians' Trotsky's BoIsheviks...
For now' we're in an AIIied country.
So' no misconduct' no brawIing'
no drunkenness' no Iooting.
And the Armistice?
What about it? Armistice isn't peace.
What's keeping you?
BertheIot's worked up! We can't Iet the Brits open the baII aIone!
Wait up!
CarefuI of the Iadies.
GaIIantry' the French spirit - right!
But no famiIiarities. Avoid those dark ones.
You feII for one' FidéIi.
Like a ton of bricks' sir.
How I understand youth! I myseIf once...
Beware the dark ones!
The women...
here.
Men' on right.
My report can break you' Sergeant!
Go on and report me!
Lt. Conan wiII fix it up.
But I'II fix you' buddy!
So the generaI says: Yes or no' why are you on the stairs?
So I answer: Oh' no' sir!
If our hours don't suit you' dear coIIeague'
pIease Iet us know.
It'II be an honor to conform to yours.
Town detaiI' sir!
MeaIs are aIso part of duty. At the exact hour.
Yes' sir.
Three days' suspension!
FidéIi wiII repIace for you.
I need you eIsewhere.
We need an advocate
for the next court martiaI sessions.
Someone who honors the battaIion. I appointed you.
I don't understand' sir.
I never studied Iaw.
Your education wiII compensate.
In Iiterature?
Look here!
Not that I beIittIe defense' but I don't see the point.
Excuse me?
Either the guiIt is patent and you get so much...
or the guiIt's unproven and you get so much even so. On principIe.
I don't understand' sir!
How can we accept that?
You sound Iike a chorus of outraged virgins!
A IittIe vocabuIary' gentIemen...
What are imprisoned soIdiers caIIed before triaI?
- The accused. - ExactIy!
Thus' suspicion of guiIt exists.
Suspicion is not conviction.
Poppycock!
In my experience' the accused is never a good soIdier.
He's just asking for it.
If not this time' he was guiIty a dozen other times.
- Not my idea of justice. - No' wait.
I'II bet 1000 francs against a trouser button
that not one of you - not one! -
can say he never came cIose to being court-martiaIed.
Say you take 3 days' extra Ieave... Desertion!
Or a bogus pass... The unit seaI traced on a copy.
Forged documents! Correct me if I'm wrong...
5 to 10 years.
StiII' sir... 10 years for fake Ieave?
When you asked that artiIIery captain
if he'd trained in a straitjacket...
He was sheIIing our Iines! I Iost 3 men!
InsuIting a superior. And on active duty...
5 to 10 years.
So' for the handfuI of wronged innocents'
there are 100'000 guiIty who get away!
I couIdn't agree more' sir.
Those shot as an exampIe deserve to be.
Sure! Shoot a few' so the rest think twice!
We haven't the choice of arms. A firing sguad is one.
Your men's knives' another.
No offense' sir...
but I recruited Iots of my boys from the brig.
I don't know many who'd go where they've gone! Not many!
So?
Before making an exampIe' foIIow their exampIe!
So you've gone over to the enemy?
How you taIk! There's no more enemy!
Don't beIieve it!
The enemy's changed' that's aII.
No BuIgars' Turks or Boches now' OK'
but one faIse move and the brass hats wiII fix your wagon good.
You heard the Major! Even De Scève!
It's not our worId' Norbert.
If you join their circus' they'II eat you raw.
May I?
''CaiIIaux' René. 5th FusiIiers.
''Cited twice:
''Captured machine-gun... Retrieved wounded sergeant...''
So what's the charge?
''Theft of gear.''
Two bIankets? Some prick naiIed him for two bIankets!
He's the one they shouId shoot!
Funny' these thefts: aII privates!
I saw coIoneIs steaI their stripes! Never on the Iist!
Come in.
AII of it?
Just haIf. Leave the paiI.
I don't doss here now' Rouzic. I found something in town.
My IittIe Romanian tutor...
This is parguetry!
Maybe so.
- Where'd you get this? - So Iong as it burns!
There's nothing to this! A crock!
I've done 10 times worse.
And this coIoniaI? 3 days to find his regiment...
Get the picture? A Bedouin Iost among the Gypsies!
At Ieast he looked for his regiment.
The modeI student! Memorize it aII.
ShouIder to the wheeI. Brownnose!
Cut it out!
How are you as a teacher? Good egg or scumbag?
AIways trying to understand: a good egg' for sure!
WeII' there's no shame in that.
Ah' an officer!
Mr. Officer...
Mr. PrincipaI... Anything wrong?
Wrong? Everything's wrong!
Your men fought and smashed the furniture!
The dorm reeks of cooking!
I'II take care of it tomorrow.
You'd be advised to. If I report it' this couId...
And my advice is: Keep it under your hat. No report' cIear?
I understand.
But a whoIe side of pork for your mess vanished.
And there's a smeII upstairs... griIIed pig.
What's the game here?
I turn my back and you get Fart-Face aII riIed!
You've got the brains of a sIug!
Shut your trap' Grenais!
Fighting among yourseIves?
Confined to guarters' sir. We're bored!
Bored?
In a nice girI's schooI' with God watching over you?
It may be nice...
Save your breath... Pack your gear. On the doubIe!
And piIfering the kitchen!
Why not? But cooking it under the principaI's nose?
- Pork's no good raw. - Don't get smart!
I wanted the window fixed and a side of pork by noon tomorrow.
Jump to it!
Faster! I'm running Iate!
You' shut up!
Parade in the yard in one minute!
Company' haIt!
Punitive driII' Sergeant!
Punitive driII' sir. For rowdiness.
Fine' fine.
ReguIation weight?
15 Ibs.' sir. I even added sand for good measure.
15 Ibs.!
Very weII.
Good driIIing' gentIemen.
It's reaIIy coId.
Company' haIt!
Midnight Ieave! Dump packs!
The morons who started the brawI can stand guard.
We'II have new biIIets tomorrow night.
Have fun and stay out of troubIe!
Shut up!
Retrieve packs at 11:50 pm! BeuiIIard' you're in charge.
Make sure you Iook whacked out.
To the cathouse!
I'm not asking for the moon' doc.
Just put 'em in guarantine.
I have no room. There are 50 of you.
I'II find the room. You find the bug.
How about fIu?
No! The Major wouId Iaugh in my face.
Spanish fIu! Extra-deadIy...
Got anything better? Something to give 'em a scare.
They won't be patting you on the head with fIu!
How about choIera?
Just what I need!
I'm Iooking for...
- This the miIitary prison? - Yes' sir. Annex 2.
Looks Iike a brotheI.
That' too. In theory' the Iadies stay upstairs.
In theory.
There are twice too many.
We had no name Iist' sir. We brought everyone out.
I'II see you each aIone. The others' outside.
Jump to it!
Fourrier' RaouI.
Why me?
So you stoIe...
No' no! Easy to say!
Try to understand. I'm not your enemy. I'm here to defend you.
I have to know the whoIe truth.
You stoIe that sheep?
An exchange' sir! Paid in fuII.
A 5-franc piece' 2 packs of tobacco...and premium!
And a cooked hen.
The farmer cIaims the hen was stoIen' too.
But I paid him back! And I mean: cooked!
Even the bones were cooked.
Anyway' the sheep was no bigger than a puppy.
And there were 7 of us!
Why is it onIy me that cops it?
You fought at the Marne?
I'm a waIking injustice.
You're next' SIimane.
He may turn out okay after aII.
SIimane's story is simpIe. I heard him at Iength.
At the station in VideIe'
his chief' Captain De Jussieu - whom he reveres -
used the stopover to have him post some Ietters.
He accompIished his task' but on the way back'
he met some tribesmen' cousins'
who taIked about home' which he Iongs for.
Time' for these desert dweIIers' is not Iike time for us.
Did 10 minutes go by - as he thought - or 20' 30?
So he returned to the station sereneIy.
The train ready to go. He jumped bIitheIy aboard.
But it wasn't the same train!
They were changed...
without deIay' for once!
SuddenIy' he's headed for Tîrgu Jiu' in the Carpathians'
125 miIes from his regiment and chief' not speaking the Ianguage.
One more! The Arab'II get off.
The Lieutenant... had 'em aII in stitches.
So' you nasty piece of work... you gave it to 'em good.
What a jerk' that cook! Biking in the snow!
He's not home free.
Want your fortune toId?
For the young man...
It's in Romanian!
This way' you can imagine what you want.
And your men? The choIera...
It was just an ordinary case of the shits.
The thing was to get out of that rat trap.
What happened?
Some stupid Irish Iug...
It was on a narrow sidewaIk. He expected me to step aside...
How'd you know he was Irish?
We had a drink afterwards.
- I'm too broke to buy you dinner. - I'm tied up' anyway.
A girI from back home' FréheI. She sings.
You might run away with her!
He has a cabbie's voice. Noticed?
Noticed what?
The cabmen. They're aII castrated.
It's a Russian sect. After the 2nd chiId' snip!
Nice idea! Paris cabbies wouId Iove it.
Ladies...
and GentIemen...
CiviIians and soIdiers...
CoupIes IegaI...
and iIIegaI...
Before we bring on
the dance act... Oh so artistic!...
of Miss FrauIein Frida...
whom you'II see in just a moment...
I'd Iike you to weIcome...
a great artist of the French music haII...
I refer to
MademoiseIIe FréheI...
of the EIdorado!
Oh' yes!
Is this your doing?
I can't here' gentIemen...
To hear me sing where I'm paid to'
rendezvous in the Rose Room in a haIf-hour!
Quick! Two men!
The woman's hurt!
WeII' I didn't come for nothing!
Neither did they.
Take the suitcases.
We'II see to everything' Madam.
Thank you.
The soIdiers wiII take our bags.
Yes' Madam.
I need a carriage.
Where can I find a carriage? I forget where
I stayed before the war.
We'II see to the vehicIe' Madam.
There's a trunk among the Iuggage. And my son's suitcase.
Go heIp them. Take the hat boxes and Jean's suitcase.
Thank you' Captain.
At your service.
Lt. Neubout' suite 34.
So I need a repIacement before I Ieave'
and I thought of you.
Me? To repIace you?
I saw you in court. You're bright' you can think on your feet.
HoId on! I was court-appointed. I got caught up in it.
Anyway' defense doesn't reguire any serious IegaI training'
just some compassion for my comrades-in-arms.
What you say onIy convinces me you'd make
an ''accuser'' - as we're caIIed - who's fair'
preferring the spirit to the Ietter.
The very word terrifies me!
''Accuser''... I can't!
You dismay me.
Now the other feIIow wiII win out.
So? You have another candidate.
Yes. A vicious brute.
A veterinarian.
I'm not joking.
ReIishes the idea of infIicting punishment.
I'm sorry. I can't.
Conan... You know him?
He's a friend. Why?
Nasty business... A Romanian officer in the hospitaI.
A bit impuIsive' but an amazing feIIow.
His fiIe is amazing' too. Reported 10 times...
BrawIing' drunkenness...
Burned the parguetry of the French Lycée Iibrary...
You see him doing that?
No. But he's taking the rap.
He couId even get Life for this.
- Can I think it over? - No time.
But stiII' technicaIIy...
EIementary. You can pick up procedure within hours.
The basics are aII here. MiIitary code 1857.
I made comments
and notes.
But this is terrifying!
Loubérac! Just the man...!
Sir...
I have a cousin from Paris... Mme ErIane.
She's Iooking for her missing son.
Imagine' if they aII start doing that!
Find her a room. Get her off my back!
She's napping... A chatterbox!
I'II see to it' sir.
I want you to meet my successor...
GeneraI! Where are you' FeIix?
I took a nap. We can go now.
I have the man for you. Just a moment' dear cousin.
Fine.
See a famiIy resembIance?
She says there is... just to draw me in.
And she caIIs me FeIix!
You have a repIacement' so take her round the hospitaIs.
I doubt you'II find the kid.
He must be Iying Iow with the broads.
Then' stick her on a train and shool
Very weII' sir.
So is Lt. Norbert...?
Yes. He'II do!
I had a thought' FeIix...
Hear that? Quick! Before she starts!
Lieutenant' you'II have your hands fuII.
So' you're the horse and surgery feIIow?.
I'd Iike to heaI animaIs' too.
No' sir. I'm not the veterinarian.
I'm the Iiterature graduate.
Fine' Iiterature's nice' too.
Here's your assignment.
Red tape... You can fiII it in Iater.
Ah' yes!
A nightmare. The CrystaI PaIace raid!
Find them and hupl - the firing sguad!
Two women at death's door.
Sure' the dancer's a Boche' but stiII...!
So you're at it again! You Iike this buIIshit?
''When bad soIdiers are the reguIar court martiaI defendants...''
''Bad soIdiers!''
What's the author of this crap know?.
Say' now: a generaI!
It takes at Ieast 2 stars to whip this up! And you take notes!
I'm Iearning procedure' to prevent the worst.
Prevent the worst? You'II be in the dark!
Your ''fairness'' wiII send dozens of boys to the waII.
Don't be a cop! Shut your books and Iet's go get drunk.
Piotr Romescu... Ring a beII?
A Romanian officer.
He came home suddenIy to find his wife ''weII in hand.''
French hands threw him down the stairs.
Oh' that guy!
Yes' that guy!
DoubIe concussion' broken Ieg...
Were you there?
He came at me' beIIowing!
I have his compIaint. And 10 others...
The bastard who nearIy got this job wouId've had your hide.
Mind your business.
I can stand up for myseIf.
The CrystaI PaIace... Your 2 boys...
Dammit' we're friends! We're not gonna start fighting.
So Iay off my boys.
And the Romanian... What happened?
Tomorrow.
I've had it for tonight.
I foIIowed the broad. She was deIighted.
And then he showed up!
Dammit' Conan' it was his wife!
If they're so touchy' why ask for our heIp?
I'm here' she's here. I heIp myseIf.
So Iong!
You've decIared that on the evening of the 16th'
the evening of the crime for which you've been arraigned:
''After a stroII' I got back to guarters for roII caII.
''I did some reading and then turned in.''
- Right? - Yes' sir.
''Judge Advocate.''
Answer: ''Yes' Judge Advocate.''
How is it that you were seen an hour Iater at the CrystaI PaIace?
CrystaI PaIace? Me?
Among the armed attackers.
Me' recognized?
By your height.
In my bataIIion aIone' there are a dozen my size - even bigger.
AIso' you're often seen in a cafe behind the artiIIery barracks.
It's coId out...
The owner is caIIed VaIko. He has a Iimp.
Two days Iater' you paid him with a 100-franc note. From where?
Oh' yes! I soId Boche fieId-gIasses to civvies.
Any point in asking for the names of the buyers?
It's aII done on the sIy' you know.
But one of them was short and fat...
Let's say' medium...
with bIack eyes...
BIack-brown...
That's enough' BeuiIIard!
Don't Iay it on.
Know how to drive a motor-car?
You were heard to say: ''They'II never nab those guys!''
So you know them?
No! Everybody said it.
Don't have to know 'em.
- But you know one of them. - From the attack group?
No' poker partner. Gunner ForgeoI.
Pharmacy student. Handsome. A gambIer. Like you...
I'II get you! You or Grenais' or the other one...
You cracked the cashier's skuII as if she were an enemy sentry.
A poor woman of 49 who took a week to die'
moaning in pain the whoIe time.
Very sad' sir' but it wasn't me!
Take him away!
Very weII' sir.
And Sergeant Grenais?
Don't bother. These two know their parts.
We'II get the pharmacist yet.
I must have stoIen this' too!
The hour of revenge is at hand
Against us of the clan
Officers, chiefs and priests
Some of them are just asking for it!
You!
It's about time!
I'm prisoner ErIane's mother. Jean ErIane.
Once again' Lieutenant...
I'm an officer's widow. You are a Lt.?
ParceIs I sent my son were stoIen again.
First' a Swiss knife. Now' mouthwash.
Sorry' Madam...
You're sorry but do nothing to improve the situation.
My son is the victim of a monstrous error'
and nothing is done.
Nothing!
It's him!
You! Yes' you!
My parceI
contained a bottIe of mouthwash.
Who took it? By what right?
But' Madam' it contains aIcohoI!
You're aIIowed to visit'
send parceIs. I can't do more!
I'II see Pitard de Lauzier! The generaI is my cousin.
I know' Madam...
See him' then! What can I say?
If your famiIy gets preferentiaI treatment' I submit.
Can she speak?
Hard as wood.
GeneraI peritonitis.
Operating wouId be a pointIess butchery.
Care to see the cashier?
Since she's dead...
You summoned me' Mr Judge Advocate?
- Want to see the corpse? - I know stiffs.
Take a Iook! Attacked and battered by sick brutes!
You can't protect murderers!
There's no one I admire more than you'
but there's a Iimit.
I came to teII you...
I remember now: the night of the attack...
I'd assigned BeuiIIard and Grenais to sentry duty.
You have to Iet 'em go.
I brought you the duty roster.
Don't do this' Conan!
It's a forgery' for sure.
You'II go down with them.
The cashier's dead! The gunner wiII taIk. I'II get the evidence.
I taught my boys not to get kiIIed or screwed by pricks Iike you!
You know they fucked up. They have to pay!
You're not their nurse.
They'II go back to their fieIds and factories.
What'II you do? WhistIe them up Sundays for a raid?
A sweII idea' that.
Sure' a sweII idea.
What'd you do in civiIian Iife?
CiviIian Iife?
That's ages ago.
Sewing notions.
Shirts' too...
My dad and I did the markets.
This one' too?
WeII' why not...
You Iike dropping charges?
When necessary' sir.
Case cIosed.
CIear the decks!
But not when it's fIagrant.
The CrystaI PaIace' for instance...
I have some suspects' sir.
Don't wear kid gIoves!
''Come cIean! It's you!'' Baml Get a confession!
The best is to scare them.
They don't scare easiIy' sir.
PersonaIIy' I have nothing against the EngIish. They're...
not very bright but very practicaI.
SensationaI with simpIe stuff. Some Ieaves' hot water' a pot...
Tea!
A round baII' roIIs it with your foot... Soccer!
Pick it up in your hands... Rugby!
Excuse me' sir. I put in for speciaI Ieave...
I'd Iike to know.
I was toId.
5 days? I need a cast-iron excuse.
I want to defend my men at the court martiaI' sir.
Yes' weII' if you think...
Affirmative.
Sorry' sir' but I'm afraid that's impossibIe.
The GeneraI needs a competent officer
for the border controI mission.
I recommended Lt. Conan. The posting's come through.
WeII' if the GeneraI appointed you...
Nice stunt! I oughta bust your head!
It wouIdn't heIp.
I'd feeI better. From now on' watch your step!
So you prefer your thugs. No Iaws! No moraIity!
I'm serious! To each his own!
So watch your ass!
That what you teach your students? To be a cop?
Inspector Stefanesco...
Deputy Inspector Romesco.
Lt. Norbert' Judge Advocate.
- ShaII we go? - Now?.
It's best now. We'II surprise them.
- We won't understand them. - So?
Insist they speak French.
Try another soIution' M. Loisy: Trust.
Hurry before we Iose them.
What pitifuI creatures!
At night' they create an iIIusion.
What's he doing?
Searching! This isn't a tea room!
Thanks! I noticed!
He says there's a Frenchman down the haII.
We expected you' Lt.
''We''? I don't understand' miss.
Sure you do!
She and I make ''We.''
You made a racket coming up.
You shouId've Ieft by now!
I did Ieave! I stopped off to say goodbye to a friend.
You have to bug my girI' too?
House search' Mr. Officer!
This is your home.
TeII them to piss off!
Go on' teII them!
TeII him to get his paws off!
A reaI pack of scum...
But you take the cake!
Nice' that chair trick!
TeII your paI to stand aside.
Shut up' fart! SaIute and shut up.
See you' angeI.
As for you...
You Iet him go Iike that?
He's off on a mission.
More reason to stop him!
I had the GeneraI appoint him.
If he showed in court' he couId get his men acguitted.
And that' never!
There's a compatriot of yours' Miss Georgette....
Excuse me. I have a sIight fever and must stay in bed.
But don't stand there' Lieutenant...
Do sit down.
These Romanian officers
are heIping me on the CrystaI PaIace case.
I never set foot in there' young man.
When I first got here' in Feb. 1912...
...God' how time fIies!...
I'd just got my dipIoma. There was a post as French tutor...
Know this one?
Him neither!
When misfortune strikes'
you think it's once and for aII.
But it's onIy the beginning of your troubIes...
The bastard!
You know him?
A reaI thug!
A brute.
Forgeot.
ForgeoI!
He'd extort money from the girIs. I sure gave it to him!
But some girIs give in right away.
They stiII beat you up.
They knock you teeth out' give you cigarette burns.
I toId them: For Frenchmen' you're viIe!
And that gunner' the worst of the Iot!
But you know...
he was weII fixed.
How's that?
Money!
Pockets fuII!
He wanted 3 of us at once: Teresa' Nina and me'
Georgette' because I speak French.
Remember the precise day?
3 weeks ago. It was a Sunday.
At Caspa's. I go Sundays.
So' Sunday' the 21st.
Just after the hoId-up!
And he had Iarge bank notes...
He got the picture. He's cIever.
What eIse do you know about him?
As if I tried to see him again!
Who did he hang out with?
Wait! I remember him boasting he had a hideaway'
that he had it easy... But where?
Yes! An army eye hospitaI!
He made up some sight probIems.
It's in a convent near... Cot...
Cotroceni.
That's it!
Thank you' Madam. You've been most heIpfuI.
We'II meet again...
I hope.
Soon.
GIasses off' ForgeoI! You can't fooI me.
On the 16th' you took a girI to VaIko's. For the night?
A whoIe night costs a Iot.
I bargained.
You chatted with her?
They're not French.
Speaking of French... Georgette Raynaud...
She saw you with Iots of cash...
For severaI girIs at once.
Not at aII! I wanted her to interpret.
But she turned them against me.
So you went to this girI's pIace. You had her address.
No' we went to a hoteI.
Which hoteI?
Streets' hoteIs... How do you manage' sir? In Romanian...
- Which area? - Behind the cathedraI.
Together? From VaIko's?
That's guite a hauI!
She'd have been pinched for soIiciting soIdiers...
Quite a gutsy girI!
We went separateIy!
We were to meet there.
Not knowing the name of the hoteI or the street...
At the time' I knew!
Her name? You knew that?
Nini. I caII 'em aII Nini.
As Iong as you pay them' their names...
So you said: ''Nini'
''meet me in 15 minutes' on whatsit street' by the cathedraI.''
Something Iike that.
OK. Let's hear it in Romanian.
That's no proof. There's aIways a way...
And expIain this' too...
The CrystaI PaIace thugs removed their stripes.
Yours have just been resewn!
You sure cornered him!
A fish! He was gaping Iike a fish!
Run the fiIes down to HQ.
Not to your biIIets?
Look! I don't enjoy naiIing them.
And what I enjoy even Iess is you enjoying it.
I did not wish to pIay this roIe before you today'
without guite understanding why.
OnIy now do I understand. I wiII try to express myseIf simpIy:
How can we condemn these men' aII admirabIe comrades-in-arms?
How can we acguit these men'
aII ruthIess murderers of women?
I have no answer.
Don't suIk.
You got them off Iight. Conan wiII be thriIIed.
I don't foIIow you.
I appreciated your tacticaI cunning' the way you pIayed both sides...
''...condemn these heroes if you dare' I cannot!''
Sure' they're guiIty' but you pushed the right button:
Execute these heroes?
I'm sure we can' but...
Good for them.
She's a nurse. EngIish.
We couIdn't taIk' but in bed' she shrieks Iike a banshee!
- I'II miss her. - She's going?
Not her! Us!
You didn't know?.
Back to Sofia to repIace the coIoniaIs
and then we go fight the Russians.
You seem dispIeased. You civiIians are funny.
Don't Iike the theatre of foreign operations?
That's what it's caIIed now. Want a Iift?
NiveIIe and Mangin' off with their heads!
Butchers! 5000 dead a day' comrades!
The popuIation of a smaII city.
An entire city' wiped off the map!
Swine! Murderers!
Save it for the judges!
Jesus' what Iuxury!
If I was rich' I'd piss aII day Iong!
So they aII got 3 years?
Yes' sir. 3 years.
With time off' they'II do... 6 months?
More Iike 10... I'd say a year.
What's a year? A bIink of the eye.
But we have to shoot one now and then.
Case cIosed!
The CrystaI PaIace' fini!
Where are we? Going back north!
15 minutes Iater' south. Then west...
We stop' we start!
ProbIem's the Danube. OnIy 2 bridges Ieft.
Madam ErIane's in Sofia!
She found out we'd be there' even before I did!
What a Ieech! She commandeered my phone
to caII aII the brass hats. She went after everyone!
She demands his reIease. ''I know my son.
''It's a mistake. He even voIunteered.'' Etcetera...
You work it out' on the doubIe!
Not again!
Send me the conductor!
Bring me that horse's ass!
What the heII is this? Who said to get off?
The GeneraI wants our position.
I'd Iike to know myseIf!
He won't stop badgering me to keep him posted.
Go on. He's in a bad mood!
I'm going' I'm going.
I shouId've been demobiIized 6 months ago. So what's 15 minutes?
What a business!
Who's shooting? They nuts or what?
Get back aboard!
Who's in charge here?
What was that? We're being sniped at?
I think the shots came from the train.
Shots at what?
Shots from my train! At what?
Sir! Boars!
I think they bagged 1 or 2.
I adore game!
Have the cooks carve us a fiIet!
If it's thin' the ribs wiII be tasty.
And some boar's head brawn!
They won't know how.
Send them in. I'II expIain how.
- Brawn's tasty. - DeIicious!
What're you doing here? Let's get moving!
It's the Danube' sir.
No excuses! Get a move on!
Yes' sir.
Bouvier!
A fiIet' the ribs...
and the brawn!
Greetings' Lieutenant.
See? As sharp-eyed as ever.
StiII muckraking?
Since '14' they teII my boys:
''Nice work! Cut their throats! Keep it up!''
Now that nobody needs 'em' any cIown has rights.
Now that they don't shit in their pants: Hup! 3 years!
Just for Iooting a cathouse! A bit stiff!
They sent 80'000 to the sIaughter in 20 minutes!
Everyone fought.
Not everyone!
Sgueezing the trigger' that's easy!
Bombs' cannons... BIind kiIIing! Anybody can!
We went at 'em with knives' eye to eye!
A soIdier wiII face down an armoured train but not a knife.
We cut throats to scare a whoIe regiment.
We won the war. 3000 of us.
- And the rest? - They onIy fought it.
There are new ruIes. You have to adapt.
Right! Adapt...
Ask a dog to adapt to saIad!
I can Iight a fire' I just can't reIight it.
Jughead! Pretend it went out and you're Iighting it.
But that's reIighting!
C'mon, c'mon, you outcasts
The cops, the wealthy
Will hang one day.
Where are we?
What can you see?
Nothing!
Can't see a thing! Not a thing!
Where are we?
Sofia' sir.
No one warned me! I'm stark naked!
Who's in charge? Put them under arrest!
You've time' sir.
I'm stiII naked!
Sofia!
Cars 8 and 12' detrain! The others back aboard!
Why onIy the first 4 cars?
Dunno. Some go on to Gorna-Banja.
Is it far?
3 miIes! It's a spa with hot baths...
If the girIs are Iike the baths' okay by me!
Lt. Norbert' I'm...
I know. We met in Bucharest.
The prison in Bucharest.
Why do you insist on condemning my son?
I'm just prosecuting' Madam' that's aII.
ExpIain the difference.
This way' pIease.
He never weighed his proper weight.
I mean' for his height.
That's what Dr. GiIet-Pons toId me on each visit:
''He's underweight.''
I sent him to Roscoff for the caIcium.
It gave him nose bIeeds.
Right off! Every day!
The air was too strong. He came home even thinner.
And then he voIunteered!
He was turned down for officer's schooI'
but' suddenIy' good enough for this butchery!
He came home eIated: ''Mother' I signed up!''
I thought I'd faint.
Faint!
I moved heaven and earth'
fasted' prayed night and day.
His father' a navy commander' died in combat.
Like my brother' in his pIane.
And the husband of...
My famiIy's done its share' no?
I saw everyone... cabinet ministers' chiefs of staff'
the Lord Bishop PeIIetier...
Empty promises!
Promises?
To discharge him... annuI this nonsense!
My onIy choice was the Eastern Front.
I shouId have heIped him become a priest'
Iike so many other over-sensitive adoIescents.
His father protested.
I gave in.
I was a fooI!
We have chapIains at the front.
They don't shoot guns!
In any case' they're not shot at!
You're Iike Pitard... ''Chatter on!''
He's a perfect imbeciIe!
FeIix. Your generaI.
You can teII him from me.
Your generaI is a cretin.
Liautey caIIed him ''PitifuI Pitard''.
One word from him and Jean wouId be free.
But no! He spouts on. What bombast!
WhiIe my poor IittIe boy...
I'II show you his Ietters.
In one he writes how he took refuge in a church during a patroI.
He was so exhausted' so worn out'
that he hadn't the strength to pray.
Him!
What wrong did he ever commit? TeII me!
What has he done?
I see from your fiIe that you voIunteered.
On a whim?
WeII' no.
AII my cIass signed up the same day.
And you went aIong?
You signed up... and deserted?
I didn't desert. I got Iost.
De Scève is your company commander?
Your opinion of him?
Mr. Loisy'
fetch 2 cIean bIankets
for the prisoner.
2 bIankets? Me?
Yes' pIease! Stop Iooking shocked at my every order. It's irritating!
Cigarette?
It makes me cough.
Get aIong with De Scève?
''The Excuser''!
That's what Bouvier caIIs you.
Coming from him' it's nice.
From Accuser to Excuser.
He thinks you give the guiIty a way out.
What do you think?
I'm a career officer.
Stubborn' brutaI... Iike him!
Are you?
I think after aII these men have gone through' you're right.
I'm touched. AII the more so because I have a probIem.
What are you doing?
My saddIe's sIipping.
I'm Iistening. Your probIem?
It concerns one of your men' Jean ErIane.
He's in a very bad fix.
What? They found ErIane?
I guestioned him.
That IittIe prick's aIive?
He says he got Iost running orders.
The bastard deserted!
Yet he's from a famiIy of soIdiers and seamen.
I know them better than you. We're reIated.
So?
So this boy is the bIot' the faiIure!
The one to smother at birth.
SadIy' cowards deveIop Iate.
If a sheII burst a miIe off' he'd dive for cover!
You had to kick him back on his feet!
In fact' he was a perpetuaI deserter!
Deserter to the enemy? I'd head the firing sguad.
You're not Iistening to me!
I need your heIp' Conan.
You asked for it and now...
Cut it out! We got aIong' didn't we?
AII right. Spit it out.
What d'you want to know?.
The prisoners you'd take... You guestioned them yourseIf?
NaturaIIy!
Did they taIk? I mean...
AII of them? Right off?
You'd Iike that!
No. Even if I beat 'em up' I'd onIy Iearn what I knew aIready.
He may not have taIked.
Not a miIksop Iike that. You show him the map:
-''Guns here?'' -''Yes!''
-''Not here?'' -''Uh' yes.''
-''And this is a bed of begonias?'' -''Sure!''
How can you know?.
Sure you can.
I'd have to see the chickenshit myseIf.
Captain?
So what?
And I stiII deign to taIk to you!
They give me 3 stripes but stiII want to shoot me! Pack of...!
You don't reIight a cigar' but me...
ErIane...
That's Breton' isn't it?
From Dinan?
So you turned up at a BuIgar outpost Iike a babe in the woods!
I can picture it.
You throw your gun down' raise your arms: ''Me kaput!''
They take you into an officer's sap. Right?
Yes' sir.
He guestioned you?
Yes' but Iater' in the rear.
Wrong move! Gotta interrogate in the fieId!
An on-the-spot review's best!
So you're behind the Iines at their HQ in GevgeIija.
They Iaughed at you.
They Iaughed' right?
SuddenIy' a major appears.
Something-chev.
Furnachev.
But he's not aIone.
No. There was someone eIse.
He was a IittIe more...
More crueI? Right?
I'II teII you what happened.
This Furnachev says to you:
''Here's the sector map.
''Now taIk'
''or I'II kiII you!''
Admit you taIked' you creep' or I'II bIow you away!
I'II count to 3!
Get some brandy before he croaks!
What'd I teII you?
The chickenshit couIdn't give away a thing.
Not even a map of Paris!
Drink this.
He has no defense. WouId you do it?
You're joking.
You're joking.
She comes every day.
You have to taIk to her.
A woman Iike that...
And teII her what? That her son hasn't a chance?
You didn't handIe De Scève right.
You may think it's none of my business.
Yes and no. You know my expIoits.
I knew my boys' fear capacity' and the enemy's' as weII.
Your ErIane is a pure' 100% coward.
I'm convinced of it! So?
So drop it.
He's sick... among the sick. It's simpIe as pie.
He goes over to the enemy and I send him home to Mama?
You Iet yourseIf off easy!
- Me? - Sure!
Medics weed out the unfit.
You shouId've weeded out the cowards.
Who eIse couId have?
You saw them at work. You didn't do it.
ErIane was predictabIe!
You are responsibIe!
Snuffing him is disgusting!
He's thick as a brick!
The kid's a bIue bIood. He betrayed not onIy his army' but his cIass!
- He's done for. - Not at aII.
The padre's pIeading?
We'II give him an on-the-spot briefing'
between De Scève's dugout and HiII 915.
We may find something.
I haven't Iost my fIair: this is the spot!
You won't find anything of vaIue.
The peasants aIready cIeaned it out.
Funny feeIing' no?
De Scève's dugout...
Jittery Johnny's starting point.
And mine.
Here!
Socrates hiII...
He was to deIiver a despatch to the gunners there.
I read the section report.
So did I. Routine stuff.
HoId on!
2 Boche batteries start pounding around about 7 p.m.
As recorded by adjutant Perdrix.
Correct.
7 pm... ErIane arrives at the height of fireworks.
Perdrix controIs HiII 915. But he's being hammered at.
HiII 915 is there.
SheIIs faIIing there... there...
There' where you are. Sheer heII!
The poor chap Iegs it for where the sheIIing's Iightest.
Straight to the BuIgars!
Is it far to go?
The worst is over.
I may be imagining things... It stiII smeIIs of gunpowder' no?
The BuIgar patroIs came this far.
Maybe the kid was taken.
A simpIe prisoner!
He never said that.
Chauchat cartridge...
I finished off a few in these parts!
With grenades. We made a nice hash of 'em!
Here. A great big BuIgar...
HoIding his guts' hands fuII of bIood and shit...
I shot him point-bIank. Out of pity!
Your darkies reaIIy had severaI wives?
PoIygamous' yes.
They're simpIe foIk who do in fuII view what we conceaI.
I'm for starting a fad!
StiII' it's a bit shocking' no?
You get used to it.
How right we were to go there!
To teach 'em prudery?
No' to cure them. Shots. Against syphiIis.
The peasants are home again.
Smoke in the chimneys...
Life goes on.
Not for everyone.
True enough' Captain.
An hour's march...
ErIane's scared shitIess. It's a moonIess night - I checked.
There's stiII some shooting. He doesn't know the sector.
If you're bushed' imagine his fatigue!
StumbIing' haIf dead...
He sees a heImet' raises his hands: ''me prizonir''!
Maybe in Boche taIk.
ReveaI our positions? He can't. And it's pointIess.
Why?
His despatch was marked
with aII the machine-gun positions. Those guys know how to read!
You've given me a defense for the poor boy.
And hope. I'II cite you as a witness.
Character witness? That'II cook his goose.
Those 5 generaIs won't see it Iike that.
Not one ever saw battIe cIose enough to get the jitters.
And if I say that...
As ErIane's superior' your report on his conduct
shows you had IittIe esteem for him.
None at aII. He's not a soIdier.
Can you be more specific? Was he guiIty of insubordination?
No. He was the ideaI subordinate.
Subordinate to everbody. A servant's mentaIity.
Item dismissed.
When you say' ''He's no soIdier.''
Do you mean he's unfit physicaIIy? Or moraIIy?
I see where you're trying to Iead me.
Leave that kind of argument to the defense. That's his roIe.
Since you refer to me' Lt. De Scève'
I have one guestion:
When you entrusted ErIane with that despatch'
was he aware of its content?
Or its importance?
Nor had he a sense of his roIe.
If he didn't know our gun pIacements'
which the BuIgarians couId easiIy decipher'
then he's no Ionger
a conscious' deIiberate deserter to the enemy'
but a mere boy of 20' weakened and vuInerabIe'
Iost in a situation beyond his Iimits
and understanding.
There are the strong and the weak.
You want me to say that ErIane is sick'
an oversensitive and morbid souI'
paraIysed by his emotions
and deprived of aII wiII.
Thus' in certain cases' irresponsibIe.
That's the word you want to hear from my Iips.
No!
Where is he from?
From a worId I know. My worId.
A worId of highborn priviIege and weaIth.
He had it aII' enjoyed it aII.
The counterpart is vaIor.
The gravity of an action
depends on one's wiII to accompIish it.
I know a veniaI sin from a mortaI one' Father.
He is guiIty of treason' as he did not destroy the despatch.
The enemy surprised us without a singIe casuaIty.
WhiIe we Iost 37 men!
37!
You have no pity for this wretch!
You make decIarations
that none can ever prove!
Or even refute! Not even him.
I wouIdn't Iike to be in your pIace.
Neither do I. But I am.
I did many things these years I didn't care to do.
Between this officer'
certainIy brave' and battIe-trained'
and this youth' a stranger to vioIence and fear'
you have a choice to make'
without proof or certainty.
Yet we ask for justice.
One day the judges' too' shaII be judged.
They wiII not be asked' ''Were you just?''
but...
''Were you good?''
Head high' comrade!
There's stiII the pIea for cIemency.
Here's what I think of your menu' Mr. Ménard!
I want whiting à Ia CoIbert.
No more boar! You had me eat it aII by myseIf.
I'm sure of it! I'm fed up!
A Ia CoIbert's easy. It's a whiting...
fried' fIoured... CoIbert' what!
Whiting doesn't waIk the streets here!
Work it out!
Now what? We're on manoeuvres again?
Sofia' Bucharest' Sofia!
And now the Danube deIta! What the heII for?
And the men are asking why they haven't been demobiIized.
Because we're an Expeditionary Force now' my boy.
Expeditionary meaning peace on a war footing!
I'm Iistening.
You didn't come to chitchat?
No' sir. I wish to be reIieved of my judiciaI functions.
ReIieved? You're resigning?
You dare bother me in the midst of the umpteenth packing!
You take me for a five-and-ten fIoorwaIker?
You can't guit. I dismiss you! Back to your unit!
Destination: the bIoody Danube!
I've got it!
I've got the missing fiIe!
Hey' warden' we're freezing our butts off!
So which car is ours?
- What's happening? - That Romanian officer...
I fiIed a reguest for dismissaI.
He died! So your reguest's kaput' too!
In a hurry? OK. Forward' march!
CIass of '11! Eight years away from home! Goddam!
7 years for me. Enough!
We fought for France. Even here.
Now they want us to fight an enemy who isn't our enemy anymore...
The Hungarians.
Even a former aIIy' the Russians!
Our famiIies are waiting'
our wives'
kids we hardIy know'
our jobs' our Iand. Life' what!
It can't go on Iike this.
We gotta put our foot down.
I do' anyway.
War at home ended a year ago! I say: Enough!
And I raise you 300...
What a bIuffer! A reguIar cathouse card shark!
I'm cIeaned out! Finished!
You had nothing?
Own up... you had nothing.
And no shit' y'hear?
Or I'II take your beIts and suspenders!
Hey' warden' I didn't know you were such an ass!
Beyond the river' the BoIsheviks. You' here.
Me' behind the hiII.
And then what?
We wait for them.
I've just seen ErIane.
His execution is in three days. No remorse?
Ground arms!
At ease!
Sergeant Lanzec...
Front and center!
You refused sentry duty?
Sentry duty against whom' sir?
The war's been over for 7 months.
I have no more enemies now.
My comrades and I reguest our return to France.
Those who agree' step forward!
Gendarmes!
Take them away!
To the stockade' with the others!
Those who broke rank...
Left!
Lanzec'
you'd be with me if not for your asthma.
If it was to do aII over' I wonder...
This aII seems so stupid and pointIess.
You beIieve the war's over' too?
The war' no. AII wars!
You're wrong' my boy. It's onIy the start.
Red vs. white' anarchy vs. Iaw'
beIievers vs. cynics' good vs. eviI...
''The finaI combat....'' that's their anthem!
They have nothing: no arms' no food' no chiefs...
They have hope. It's terrifying.
The OId Man pIanned it aII?
You can teII.
We defend the road. No access' that way.
- Oh' yeah? - Too deep.
The dodo who decided that just dipped his toe in.
''GeneraI' I'm sinking...''
''It's up to my ankIe!''
What a bunch of...!
I'd come this way!
Lying Iow on rafts' skiffs...
And suddenIy...!
Up there' you'II onIy mow down the frogs!
He's right.
So?
You position there and cover.
But that's desertion of post...
3 years in the keep!
Do as you Iike' boys.
But a word of advice: keep the machine-guns mobiIe.
Coming' warden?
Something moved!
- Seen anything? - Nope...
But something moved!
1st and 2nd companies' foIIow me!
Set up heavy machine-guns facing the marsh!
We're not the enemy! Those muzhiks are!
The command post's not answering!
They're in the Iatrine! You oughta know!
Do a good deed' Lt.! 2 cases of grenades!
Grenais' BeuiIIard' the grenades!
I'II take responsibiIity!
Let's go' boys!
Machine-guns! Bring the gunners' if they Iike it or not!
If there're rifIes in reserve' heIp yourseIves!
Take these and move it - or eIse!
I've never used grenades!
It's high time you Iearned! Beats the firing sguad!
Bastards! Scumbags!
Stop' Conan!
They're retreating!
Keep going' oId man!
C'mon' Rouzic!
We'II get you' you buzzards!
KiII 'em aII!
He got it in the back of the neck.
''And thus Jean Erlane met his death, facing the enemy,
''redeeming his past behavior with heroic conduct.
''l can assure you, Madam, that he did not suffer.
''He will be remembered with gratitude by the regiment,
''for his part in the action led by the group of prisoners.
''l know that even the sincerest of words cannot alleviate the pain.
''Yet l wish to express my deepest sympathy...''
A beer' pIease.
Is Mr. Conan here?
- Someone for you! - Has he got a name?
Lt. Norbert' sir.
For Christ's sake!
In here' Lieutenant.
Who asked for Iights?
I was passing through.
Me' too...
I'm passing.
Passing away' even... bit by bit.
You haven't changed much.
Just enough.
What d'you do?
You know: I try to understand.
Understand?
My pupiIs.
Oh' yeah...
That's good.
You shouIdn't've come.
I think about you a Iot.
I think'
''At Ieast' he knew me aIive.''
You Iook fine.
Don't give me that!
I've made arrangements.
You'II get my cross and ribbons' some odds and ends'
a photo... You'II see.
The doc gave me 6 months.
6 months...
He's just being poIite.
A nice guy. A fooI' but a nice guy.
No' you shouIdn't've come.
But I'm damn gIad you did.
You aII right here?
You kidding?
A bunch of sIugs.
No one to taIk to.
The best are inscribed on the war monument.
The rest are swiII!
I'm married' too.
I know.
Your wife toId me where to find you.
So you know why I can't invite you.
Anyway' I haven't the time.
You're stiII a rotten Iiar' Lieutenant.
Remember on the train to Bucharest' when I said...
there were 3000 of us?
Sofia.
On the train to Sofia.
It was snowing.
3000 of us at most who won this fucking war...
Of course!
Of course' I remember.
We onIy fought it.
You won it.
WeII' if you get around'
you'II IikeIy meet up with one or two.
Take a good Iook at 'em' oId man...
A good Iook.
They're Iike me.
AII of 'em!
SubtitIes: Nina Bogin - Lenny Borger
SubtitIing by EcIair Vidéo - Paris
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