Beau travail


Beau travail concludes with the frenzied dance of Galoup on the disco floor that we have seen, intermittently, throughout the film. The dance seems both regimented and wild at the same time. If, in the previous scene, we are led to believe that Galoup is about to commit suicide, this concluding dance suggests another way to imagine the male body. There is, after all, a connection between the last two scenes. The last image we see of Galoup’s body before the dance shows Galoup’s arm in close-up, a vein throbbing. In the final scene, the vitality, the pulsating energy, of that detail explodes. If the film suggests, however briefly, that there are ways to imagine the breakdown of the whore/Madonna stereotype in relationship to women, no such possibility exists in relationship to Galoup. His pulsating body, whether throbbing slightly in contemplation of suicide or performing frenetically on the dance floor, cannot escape the dualities of regimentation and desire, duty and passion. – Judith Mayne