The Officers' Ward (French, La chambre des officiers), is a novel by Marc Dugain, published in 1999. It is supposedly based on the experiences of one of the author's own ancestors during World War I.
The novel was made into a film in 2001, directed by François Dupeyron and starring Eric Caravaca as the central character.
Adrien Fournier, a handsome lieutenant in the Engineers, is wounded on a simple reconnaissance mission on the first day of French involvement in the Great War. He is hit by a stray shell, which kills his fellow officers and his horse, and blows off part of Adrien's mouth. Devastated and permanently disfigured, he spends the rest of the war in a special hospital with a small group of others who have similar injuries -- including a woman, Marguerite, who has been wounded while nursing at the Western Front. Adrien's palate and jaw are gradually reconstructed by pioneering plastic surgeons.
The book follows the experiences of the group right up to World War II
and beyond, unlike the film, which ends with a meeting between Adrien and his future wife.
The film concentrates more on the period spent in the hospital, and emphasizes the horror of the friends' injuries, which are understated in the book. On Adrien's arrival at the ward, all the mirrors are removed and staff are instructed not to give any to him, but we see from the expressions on the faces of others just how bad the damage is. Adrien becomes increasingly desperate to see the damage done to his face, even asking a visitor to draw a picture of him. Dupeyron ensures that we do not see the horrifying extent of Adrien's injuries until the moment that he himself does - by looking at his reflection in a window pane.
Both book and film focus strongly on the fleeting romance between Adrien and Clémence, a woman he meets by chance shortly before departing for the war, and his later attempts to track her down. However, the outcome of his search is treated quite differently in the film from the novel.