How could anyone have continued to believe in God after such butchery? What is the place of the artist, when confronted with an absurdity of this magnitude? In order to better understand, we must go down in the trenches. The smell; it's the smell that hits you first. The smell of corpses, putrefying, decaying. The French and the Germans, abandoned to their fate, in a no-man's-land where nothing grows but barbed wire. Very quickly we make friends with the soldiers of the 17th Infantry Company. We share their appalling grub; their last hopes ... and their fleas, too! Like them, we swear an oath that when it is over, we'll all go together to have fun at the « Folies Bergère », in Paris. Like them, when the German bombing gets even fiercer, we press ourselves against the earth and embrace it, like a little child clinging to its mother's skirts. Like them, we curse all men and their gods. Like them, we go mad.
The Folies Bergère
We're right in the middle of World War I, deep in the trenches. The soldiers are confronted by unimaginable suffering and violent death on a daily basis. Considered as nothing more than cannon fodder by their superiors, they try desperately to survive. Partly as an act of defiance in the face of hardship, partly as the ultimate irony, the soldiers nickname their regiment after the famous Parisian cabaret club 'Folies Bergère'. They laugh and joke, they write, they draw, they fight, they die in appalling circumstances, they kill themselves, they lose their minds. And then one of their number is sentenced to death by firing squad... and miraculously survives...
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