It's the Spanish Civil War but the philosophy could apply to any war. Trintignant is brilliant as the Colonel whose cynicism is all on the surface and whose violence isjust below. It's a weird, unexpected character, the gay play mixed with the weariness, not with war, but with men. It took some time to dawn on me that there was a Jimmy Cagney struggling inside Trintignant, an updating of a Cagney simmering performance.
It's absorbing,a tiny bit 'let's make all the right wingers look as though they're off their trolleys while all the Republicans are martyrs' but not overly so, because there's no real judgement to be made about the Civil War, but about you and me.
The only dischordant note for me is the dischordant music, much of which seeming inappropriate and not needed (yep, and dischordant). And a female character thrown in because a female character had to be thrown in.
Don't let that put you off. Great film.