The Fire Within

Alain Leroy, a recovering alcoholic at a rehabilitation clinic in Versailles, suffers from depression. He intends to commit suicide, but first decides to visit his friends in Paris one final time, trying to find a reason to live. The stark contrast and seemingly pointless nature of his friends’ bourgeois existence only brings Leroy into a state of even further contention with his absence of meaning in life, perceived by him. Without much fanfare he returns home and kills himself, having had traveled and arced and tried, hoping to seek out an answer or meaning, but discovering that all there was to find was more complication and more intensity when it came to his state of question on whether or not life was worth living any longer. Commenting on the commercial failure of the critically well-received film, Malle said, ‘It is such a harsh subject and it’s such a depressing movie’. Malle’s achievement lies not only his subtle but clear delineation of his protagonist’s emotions but in his grasp of life’s compromises; his portrait of Parisian society is astringent, never facile. A small gem, polished to perfection by an unassuming professional.


Louis Malle

Pasinetti Award Venice Film Festival
Special Jury Prize Venice

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