SKELETAL BRIGADE

By György PÁLFI

EUROFILM STUDIO LTD. - as PROD

Drama - Development 2008


    • Year of production
    • 2008
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • HUNGARY
    • Languages
    • FRENCH, ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • 5 - 10 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • György PÁLFI
    • Writer(s)
    • György PÁLFI, Zsófia RUTTKAY
    • Producer(s)
    • Gábor VÁRADI (Eurofilm Studio Ltd.), Péter MISKOLCZI (Eurofilm Studio Ltd.)
    • Synopsis
    • In the Bahr el Sudan desert stands a Foreign Legion penal camp where it's not only the prisoners under forced labour who undergo punishment, but everyone who, for whatever reason, fate has lead there. This is how it is, even for Post Commander August Sirone, who, over the long years spent there, has turned from idealistic, Baroque male, into a wreck, plagued by liver troubles. But we won't find a single heatly mind amongst his officers either (Sergeant Berlac for instance, weaves his megalomanic plans, whilst depression has utterly taken over Lieutenant Gouillaume and Lieutenant Libourne has developed schizophrenia). It's no wonder. In the camp, just as in Hell, every single day is the same and no-one has any hope of ever getting out.
      The arrival of prisomer 63 to the camp, all os a sudden changes everything. Henry Fécamp, convicted of double homicide, robbery, treason and espionage “barriwky escaped” the death penalty – although he may have been better off than in Bahr el Sudan. It’s not enough that he must do hard, physical labour each day, with adequate food or water rations, but he must also endure the interrogation of the officers, who hope that the revelation of the secret Fécamp guards will be their own way, trying to discover the whereabouts of a certain bag, for which – by his own confession – Fécamp killed a high ranking Legion officer and which contains important, top-secret, state documents. Fécamp endures the physical ordeal exceptionally well, but he cannot bear the phychological terror tactics of one particular lower – ranking officer and ends up attacking him.
      Thus, as a regressive prisoner, his is sent to the Skeletal Brigade.
      The Skeletal Brigade is even worse than the work camp. The environment is utterly unsuitable for human life, in the middle of the desert, high up on a plateau, where the weather reaches temperatures of 60∞, the prisoners must do the same hard, physical labour as the others down in the Valley, the most well-adjusted prisoners live by their own law, the adherence to shich is the only grip they have on their past lives.
      Fécamp’s arrival naturally upsets everything here as well. Thanks to his physical strength and intelligence, he soon takes over the running of the Brigade. With his every action, and later his newly reformed law, he tells his fellow prisoners of the importance of retaining their humanity. However, when he recognises an old acquaintance amongst the prisoners, who tells him what happened after Fcamp confessed to his crimes is court, he himself is broken and loses his faith in mankind.
      He discovers that the murders and robbery to shich he confessed, where committed by none other than his best friend Carew, with whom – to the best of Fécamp’s knowledge – they had decided who will die and who will receive the 500,000 franks reward for turning in the culprit, by the toss of a coin. All this, naturally, was done for the sake of a woman, with whom they were both in love and whom they could find no other way of deciding which of them should have. Until this point, Fécamp has been convinced that he had lost fair and square, thus he accepted his due punishment. He never even considered that Carew had planned the whole thing and what’s more, that he had killed the captain. Fécamp decides to get his revenge. He must get back to the Valley, so he can prove his innocence.
      During the prison break, they discover a document, which unequivocally proves the innocence of the original Skeletal Brigade, that is, those prisoners who were exile to the plateau eight years ago. Thus Fécamp has a double mission now. Not only does he have to prove his own innocence, but also that of the Brigade.
      Thanks to Sergeant Berlac’s treachery, he gets back to the work camp, where he gets the opportunity to prove his heoism before all in the quashing of the uprising, enemy Arab tribes. In fact, he leads the Skeletal Brigade’s troops to triumph in the battle. After the victory, he is naturally given the opportunity to prove his innocence and finally get his revenge over Carew.
      As a reward, they relocate the officers of the camp – of course there will always be someone who, for some incomprehensible reason or due to some minor moral dispute, gets posted to serve at Bahr el Sudan…
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    • Co-producers, sales required
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