The Fire Within: Examining Life’s Darkest Hour

When movies deal with addiction and/or depression, there’s usually an abundance of histrionics put in play to drive the point home.  Especially with addiction, the standard operating procedure seems to be 1) show early stages of drug abuse/alcoholism slowly destroying character’s life 2) move into life-now-destroyed mode and, finally, 3) reflection upon addiction with possible recovery.  It’s not that that’s a bad way of going about it and many movies, from The Days of Wine and Roses and Clean and Sober to Drugstore Cowboy and Leaving Las Vegas, have all used that formula with great success while having the imagination to step outside it just enough to make a difference (Leaving Las Vegas, for instance, pretty much lands us squarely into stage two of the process right from the start).*  But one film from the early sixties deals with the despair of the addict in a way that eschews all forms of hyperbole and cliche.  I speak as someone who not only has alcoholism in his family but clinical depression as well when I tell you the silver screen has rarely portrayed the surrender of the alcoholic as honestly.  The movie is The Fire Within (Le Feu Follet), directed by Louis Malle in 1963, and the lead performance by Maurice Ronet is a thing of stark beauty.

The Fire Within‘s most startling decision is to start at the end.  Not the end where the alcoholic makes a change or decides to give up trying, but the point after that.    Our protagonist, Alain, is in rehab already.  We are spared the usual drunken rages and blackouts, the hallucinations and stupors.  We can assume they came before and leave it at that. The movie’s first few images are that of Alain and Lydia (Lena Skerla) in bed together at a hotel discussing life and rehab.  He’s been in rehab for six months since he left New York and his wife, Dorothy.  She sends checks to pay for the rehab and the two have discussed divorce but it’s gone no further than that.  Lydia’s returning to New York that day and will tell Dorothy Alain’s doing fine but won’t tell her she and he slept together since Alain doesn’t want her to.  Why he doesn’t want her to is unclear since he doesn’t speak with Dorothy nor seem to care at all about her or she for him.

He’s given up alcohol and now, fully cured, must leave the detox center.  He knows if he leaves he’ll just start drinking again and tells the head of the clinic as much.  No matter, he’s cured and it’s time to go.   It is at this point that he effectively decides there’s no point to anything and checking out (of life, that is) is probably the best option left.    It’s either spend the rest of his life in rehab, dead and numbed to the world, or go back out and drink, dead and numbed to the world.  Why not just leave the world altogether?

He comes to this decision in a surprisingly calm manner but it’s only surprising in the sense that it’s not the way the movies usually do it.  Usually in the movies,  these things are preceded by sobbing and the wringing of hands but for most people reaching the bottom of life’s options, it’s a calming moment (think Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore) in The Shawshank Redemption, calmly carving his name on the rafter before hanging himself).  And for Alain, the decision provides relief.  He even says it out loud but without any sense of urgency or drama, “I’ll kill myself tomorrow.”

With that decision out of the way, Alain hitches a ride to Paris to say goodbye to people he’s known, friends and acquaintances.  He does not overtly tell them, “I’m going to kill myself,” but he implies they will not see him again.   At this point, most of them try to cheer him up or reinvigorate some long dormant drive they feel is lurking beneath the surface.  One of the first friends he visits tells him he’s been accepting of mediocrity for far too long and that he needs to pull himself up and do things with his life.  As is so often the case, someone offering advice to an unmotivated and depressed person believes telling them why they shouldn’t be feeling what they’re feeling is the best course of action.   Yes, there’s no better way to speed along a spiral of despair than to tell someone their feelings are invalid.  What his friend doesn’t understand is that nothing he says matters to Alain.  Alain is just there to say goodbye, nothing more.

Eventually, Alain makes his way around Paris visiting many old friends who tell him one way or the other that he’s wrong and has so much potential.  Either that, or his decisions are bad and he should change them.  One particularly pointless encounter (for Alain, not the movie) comes with an old flame Eva (Jeanne Moreau) who lays under blankets on a sofa, surrounded by three men, artists and drug addicts, in a perpetual state of ennui.  According to Eva, Alain was stupid to go to rehab, he’s irresponsible, he’s weak and so on.  She offers this criticism all while barely mustering the energy to turn her head to look at him.  Alain doesn’t say much except to tell the lot of them that their existence and the drugs they take are boring.  He couldn’t be more right.  Naturally, when he leaves, they call him a boor because what good is addiction if it can’t make you completely blind to your own faults.

His last stop puts him at a dinner party with a blustering local politician who doesn’t drink and thinks alcoholics are lazy drunkards.  Alain does drink here and speaks his mind about himself and other things before walking off into an eternal sunset but it doesn’t become a raging drunk scene, just one of utter disorientation.   The dinner hostess, Solange (Alexandra Stewart),  wants to make sure Alain returns tomorrow for lunch and he tells her he will.   It’s not certain if he says this to be nice or if he has reconsidered his suicide and will remain among the living.

Louis Malle handles the story with a wonderful command of visual composition.   The shots are crisp and gorgeous because of Malle’s framing but the elements within each shot are ordinary, even banal.  There are no sweeping, operatic camera movements, no bravura sequences.  There is a consistent and unblinking observation of Alain, the camera staring at him without judgment as he gazes upon the world without feeling.  It is only at the end that Malle uses a brilliant juxtaposition of angles to make clear that Alain, so cold and distant, is finally getting excitable.  In a brilliant use of the audience’s instinctive understanding of how cinematography works, Malle shoots Alain from the left side and then, mid-sentence, cuts to a shot of Alain from the right side.  He’s not cutting between characters talking, he’s cutting to different shots of the same character talking while he’s talking.  The time between the cuts gradually shorten until Alain is bouncing from one side of the screen to the other, disorienting the viewer to the point that following what Alain is even saying becomes difficult.

The Fire Within was submitted by France for nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1963 but wasn’t chosen for nomination by the Academy’s board.  It’s a shame because it was certainly deserving with Malle deserving of a Best Director nod as well.   But the real snub was not nominating Maurice Ronet for Best Actor.  It’s a portrayal of an alcoholic at the end of their life that is so devoid of flailing, gesticulating histrionics it makes most other portrayals of the same thing look embarrassing by comparison.  The title itself means one thing to Alain’s friends and acquaintances (a fire inside he needs to reignite) and another to Alain himself (a fire that is dangerous and must be drowned out) and possibly something entirely different to each and viewer of the film.  It’s a great and daring work that’s flown beneath the radar for far too long (except for Louis Malle and French New Wave fans) and deserves more attention but, more than anything, the performance of Maurice Ronet (dead too young at 55 from cancer) should be celebrated and lauded as one of the greatest portrayals of despair to ever grace the silver screen.

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*Just to clarify, I mean movies that specifically deal with alcoholism/addiction as their subject.  A movie like Fat City is about multiple characters, two of which happen to be alcoholics, but the movie itself is not about alcoholism.  It is, however, in my opinion, one of the greatest films ever made and never, ever has barely functioning alcoholism been portrayed on the screen with such frightening accuracy.

0 Response The Fire Within: Examining Life’s Darkest Hour
Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 10:39 am

This sounds really depressing. I’m going to look for it on Netflix. I cannot relate to this story at all, as a tee-totaler and as someone who has no alcoholism in the family at all, but the way you describe it makes it sound like a fascinating view of this problem and an enlightening viewing experience.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 10:39 am

This sounds really depressing. I’m going to look for it on Netflix. I cannot relate to this story at all, as a tee-totaler and as someone who has no alcoholism in the family at all, but the way you describe it makes it sound like a fascinating view of this problem and an enlightening viewing experience.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 11:11 am

This has been added to my Netflix queue, along with Elevator to the Gallows.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 11:11 am

This has been added to my Netflix queue, along with Elevator to the Gallows.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 11:29 am

Rob, Malle was such a great director but not as widely seen as Truffaut or Goddard until the late seventies when films like Pretty Baby, Atlantic City and My Dinner with Andre brought him new found recognition. And you don’t need to relate to the movie at all to see the beauty in Maurice Ronet’s performance or the movie. Hope you like it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 11:29 am

Rob, Malle was such a great director but not as widely seen as Truffaut or Goddard until the late seventies when films like Pretty Baby, Atlantic City and My Dinner with Andre brought him new found recognition. And you don’t need to relate to the movie at all to see the beauty in Maurice Ronet’s performance or the movie. Hope you like it.

Posted By Giselle : November 21, 2012 1:24 pm

I know they’re dark and depressing but I really enjoy watching films about addiction and this one definitely sounds different than most I’ve seen. It’s going on my list of films to watch.

Posted By Giselle : November 21, 2012 1:24 pm

I know they’re dark and depressing but I really enjoy watching films about addiction and this one definitely sounds different than most I’ve seen. It’s going on my list of films to watch.

Posted By Kingrat : November 21, 2012 1:51 pm

Greg, I’m a huge fan of this movie. Thank you for writing so well about one of my favorites. I wouldn’t watch this if I were feeling depressed, but it’s a great film. Malle is a hard director to pigeonhole, which has hurt his reputation, but it shouldn’t have. By the way, the French title, LE FEU FOLLET, means the will-o’-the-wisp.

Posted By Kingrat : November 21, 2012 1:51 pm

Greg, I’m a huge fan of this movie. Thank you for writing so well about one of my favorites. I wouldn’t watch this if I were feeling depressed, but it’s a great film. Malle is a hard director to pigeonhole, which has hurt his reputation, but it shouldn’t have. By the way, the French title, LE FEU FOLLET, means the will-o’-the-wisp.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 2:01 pm

Giselle, I don’t quote Roger Ebert often but I definitely agree with his statement, “No good movie is depressing; all bad movies are depressing.” THE FIRE WITHIN is definitely a great movie, beautifully shot and acted. I highly recommend it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 2:01 pm

Giselle, I don’t quote Roger Ebert often but I definitely agree with his statement, “No good movie is depressing; all bad movies are depressing.” THE FIRE WITHIN is definitely a great movie, beautifully shot and acted. I highly recommend it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 2:04 pm

Kingrat, glad to see another fan of the movie. The translation is interesting. If you go to Google Translate and type in “feu” you get “fire” for the translation. If you type in “follet” after it, you get “wisp” instead, like you describe. Considering the meaning of that term (found here), it opens up a new interpretation to the title in relation to the character.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 2:04 pm

Kingrat, glad to see another fan of the movie. The translation is interesting. If you go to Google Translate and type in “feu” you get “fire” for the translation. If you type in “follet” after it, you get “wisp” instead, like you describe. Considering the meaning of that term (found here), it opens up a new interpretation to the title in relation to the character.

Posted By MDR : November 21, 2012 2:07 pm

Hollywood’s treatment of alcoholism is – as you’ve accurately stated – fairly formula driven, wrought with overacting and stereotypical thinking about addiction: drunks are lazy, lack willpower etc. … and that it can be cured. Whereas alcoholism is a disease that alcoholics must live with it every day. Sobriety can only being achieved “one day at a time”, usually with the help of a program like AA, belief and trust in a Higher Power etc.

There are two fairly good TVM’s on the subject about AA’s founders and one of their wives titled: My Name is Bill W. (1989) starring James Woods and James Garner and (not as good) When Love is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story (2010) starring Winona Ryder. The most important aspect of the latter is that it “introduces” Al-Anon, an essential – and highly recommended – program for anyone who has a relative or friend that’s an alcoholic.

I think that the best Hollywood movie on the subject is I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955), a story about the rise, fall and recovery of singer-actress Lillian Roth, starring Susan Hayward (and Eddie Albert), and featuring the serenity prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Posted By MDR : November 21, 2012 2:07 pm

Hollywood’s treatment of alcoholism is – as you’ve accurately stated – fairly formula driven, wrought with overacting and stereotypical thinking about addiction: drunks are lazy, lack willpower etc. … and that it can be cured. Whereas alcoholism is a disease that alcoholics must live with it every day. Sobriety can only being achieved “one day at a time”, usually with the help of a program like AA, belief and trust in a Higher Power etc.

There are two fairly good TVM’s on the subject about AA’s founders and one of their wives titled: My Name is Bill W. (1989) starring James Woods and James Garner and (not as good) When Love is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story (2010) starring Winona Ryder. The most important aspect of the latter is that it “introduces” Al-Anon, an essential – and highly recommended – program for anyone who has a relative or friend that’s an alcoholic.

I think that the best Hollywood movie on the subject is I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955), a story about the rise, fall and recovery of singer-actress Lillian Roth, starring Susan Hayward (and Eddie Albert), and featuring the serenity prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 2:10 pm

MDR, I really liked MY NAME IS BILL W when I saw it some twenty years ago. Thought Woods and Garner were wonderful. Also like I’LL CRY TOMORROW but mainly because I’ve always been a fan of Susan Hayward’s “let’s throw caution to the wind” over-the-top style acting. I miss actors will to smash the ball out of the park for a movie role.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 2:10 pm

MDR, I really liked MY NAME IS BILL W when I saw it some twenty years ago. Thought Woods and Garner were wonderful. Also like I’LL CRY TOMORROW but mainly because I’ve always been a fan of Susan Hayward’s “let’s throw caution to the wind” over-the-top style acting. I miss actors will to smash the ball out of the park for a movie role.

Posted By Gene : November 21, 2012 4:12 pm

My first Malle film was My Dinner With Andre at the tail-end of my high school years. I was deeply impressed at the time, perhaps for the wrong reasons, and have since dismissed the film. I then saw several of his other films when still young, and though I appreciated his talent I was never deeply impressed with his work save for Au Revoir Les Enfants and his short piece in Les Histoires Extraordinaire. Two that I specifically think of would be Les Amants and Le Feu Follet.

After reading your piece I will definitely revisit this film and see what my feelings towards it are today.

Posted By Gene : November 21, 2012 4:12 pm

My first Malle film was My Dinner With Andre at the tail-end of my high school years. I was deeply impressed at the time, perhaps for the wrong reasons, and have since dismissed the film. I then saw several of his other films when still young, and though I appreciated his talent I was never deeply impressed with his work save for Au Revoir Les Enfants and his short piece in Les Histoires Extraordinaire. Two that I specifically think of would be Les Amants and Le Feu Follet.

After reading your piece I will definitely revisit this film and see what my feelings towards it are today.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 4:15 pm

Gene, I would still say my favorite Malle film is ATLANTIC CITY, which I watched again for the (I lose track) fourth or fifth time last month. But LE FEU FOLLET is a pretty amazing piece. I certainly hope you like it more when you give it another look.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 4:15 pm

Gene, I would still say my favorite Malle film is ATLANTIC CITY, which I watched again for the (I lose track) fourth or fifth time last month. But LE FEU FOLLET is a pretty amazing piece. I certainly hope you like it more when you give it another look.

Posted By Doug : November 21, 2012 4:40 pm

Interesting timing, this post coming up right before the Holidays.
You’re right, Greg, that most portrayals of alcoholism/addiction in film are full of’showy, histrionic’ acting.
Not only are they opportunities for actors to ham it up, but I think that alcoholism/addiction might be ‘overacted’ as a defense mechanism: “See, I’m ACTING-I’m not REALLY addicted in real life!”
One of the best scenes of rehab on film was Jeff Bridges playing a cop in “8 Million Ways To Die”. He had been drinking, blacked out, woke up in spindry and then checked himself out to go catch the bad guy.
I love good film, but I think I might give “Le Feu Follet” a miss, at least for now.

Posted By Doug : November 21, 2012 4:40 pm

Interesting timing, this post coming up right before the Holidays.
You’re right, Greg, that most portrayals of alcoholism/addiction in film are full of’showy, histrionic’ acting.
Not only are they opportunities for actors to ham it up, but I think that alcoholism/addiction might be ‘overacted’ as a defense mechanism: “See, I’m ACTING-I’m not REALLY addicted in real life!”
One of the best scenes of rehab on film was Jeff Bridges playing a cop in “8 Million Ways To Die”. He had been drinking, blacked out, woke up in spindry and then checked himself out to go catch the bad guy.
I love good film, but I think I might give “Le Feu Follet” a miss, at least for now.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 5:00 pm

Interesting timing, this post coming up right before the Holidays.

That was not wholly unintentional. I myself get a little down during the holidays. Personally, it feels like empty commitment and soulless tradition. I connect to the people I love every day of the year so a big commercially proscribed holiday feels kind of meaningless. As such, I connect to movies like THE FIRE WITHIN at these times of the year.

And I pass on recommendations all the time! We’re not going to live forever and there’s still a good 250,000 or so films I have never seen and, if I’m lucky, I might get to take in 5,000 or so before I leave this earth. That means pick what you like, ignore the rest. I do it all the time.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 5:00 pm

Interesting timing, this post coming up right before the Holidays.

That was not wholly unintentional. I myself get a little down during the holidays. Personally, it feels like empty commitment and soulless tradition. I connect to the people I love every day of the year so a big commercially proscribed holiday feels kind of meaningless. As such, I connect to movies like THE FIRE WITHIN at these times of the year.

And I pass on recommendations all the time! We’re not going to live forever and there’s still a good 250,000 or so films I have never seen and, if I’m lucky, I might get to take in 5,000 or so before I leave this earth. That means pick what you like, ignore the rest. I do it all the time.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 5:29 pm

My favorite alcoholic movie is still The Lost Weekend.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 5:29 pm

My favorite alcoholic movie is still The Lost Weekend.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 5:34 pm

Rob, that’s a great one. Ray Milland gives a great performance in it and despite the fact that it follows the formula stated at the top of the piece, it must also be acknowledged that it practically created the formula so, really, it’s all the other movies that are copying it. My only problem is that I’ve seen one too many alcoholics do exactly what Milland does at the end of the film (basically say it’s over and I’m going to turn over a new leaf) and it never works. It takes a real commitment to yourself and support from fellow addicts on a daily basis to get through it so my only wish is that they would have treated that ended with a question mark instead of a period. They treat it as if it’s done and he conquered it, which feels too easy. But that’s really my only quibble with it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 5:34 pm

Rob, that’s a great one. Ray Milland gives a great performance in it and despite the fact that it follows the formula stated at the top of the piece, it must also be acknowledged that it practically created the formula so, really, it’s all the other movies that are copying it. My only problem is that I’ve seen one too many alcoholics do exactly what Milland does at the end of the film (basically say it’s over and I’m going to turn over a new leaf) and it never works. It takes a real commitment to yourself and support from fellow addicts on a daily basis to get through it so my only wish is that they would have treated that ended with a question mark instead of a period. They treat it as if it’s done and he conquered it, which feels too easy. But that’s really my only quibble with it.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 5:36 pm

I love this commercially proscribed holiday season. I started listening to Christmas music last week and finished my Christmas shopping on Sunday. Tonight I’m watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. This movie will keep until after the holidays for me.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 5:36 pm

I love this commercially proscribed holiday season. I started listening to Christmas music last week and finished my Christmas shopping on Sunday. Tonight I’m watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. This movie will keep until after the holidays for me.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 5:39 pm

Concerning The Lost Weekend- That may have been the edict of the censors that caused that ending. I’m not sure. An uncertain ending like that regarding alcoholism? It had to end either with him being cured or with him committing a crime and being shot dead or arrested.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 5:39 pm

Concerning The Lost Weekend- That may have been the edict of the censors that caused that ending. I’m not sure. An uncertain ending like that regarding alcoholism? It had to end either with him being cured or with him committing a crime and being shot dead or arrested.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 5:40 pm

Well in that case, a Happy Holidays to you, Rob! That’s Thanksgiving and Christmas but I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas again as we get closer. One of these days, when the kids celebrate their own holidays and have us over and we’re not running everything and paying for plane tickets we can’t afford to get people here, I’ll enjoy the holidays as much as you. Just have to wait it out a little bit longer.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 5:40 pm

Well in that case, a Happy Holidays to you, Rob! That’s Thanksgiving and Christmas but I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas again as we get closer. One of these days, when the kids celebrate their own holidays and have us over and we’re not running everything and paying for plane tickets we can’t afford to get people here, I’ll enjoy the holidays as much as you. Just have to wait it out a little bit longer.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 5:41 pm

I agree that it’s probably the only ending they could have had. Like I said, it’s a minor quibble.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 21, 2012 5:41 pm

I agree that it’s probably the only ending they could have had. Like I said, it’s a minor quibble.

Posted By Kingrat : November 21, 2012 6:58 pm

Greg, just don’t feel OBLIGED to have a great holiday and feel guilty if you don’t. One year in the distant past I admitted to people at work that Christmas hadn’t been very enjoyable, and several others immediately said it had been the same for them. These days I usually do enjoy the holidays, but it can be a tough time for many people. A friend used to host an “orphans’ Christmas” for people who did not have families to go to, and that was a huge success.

Posted By Kingrat : November 21, 2012 6:58 pm

Greg, just don’t feel OBLIGED to have a great holiday and feel guilty if you don’t. One year in the distant past I admitted to people at work that Christmas hadn’t been very enjoyable, and several others immediately said it had been the same for them. These days I usually do enjoy the holidays, but it can be a tough time for many people. A friend used to host an “orphans’ Christmas” for people who did not have families to go to, and that was a huge success.

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 8:11 pm

And happy Thanksgiving to you and all of the readers, Greg!

Posted By robbushblog : November 21, 2012 8:11 pm

And happy Thanksgiving to you and all of the readers, Greg!

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 22, 2012 12:16 am

We’ve got the turkey brined and ready to go for tomorrow. It’s going to taste so good.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 22, 2012 12:16 am

We’ve got the turkey brined and ready to go for tomorrow. It’s going to taste so good.

Posted By Doug : November 22, 2012 4:01 am

Greg:”As such, I connect to movies like THE FIRE WITHIN at these times of the year.”
I think highly of “Morvern Callar”; I note it here as it is sorta in the jurisdiction of this post.
Most “Holidays/Christmas/New Years things” leave me cold-I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge-just a guy who has seen enough holidays. Besides-”Christmas movies” are mostly aimed at kids or the “Bad Santa” crowd.
And New Years-amateur night. Stay home and safe.
A great non-Holiday movie that makes me feel good:
“Ponette”. That gets to me in a way that “The Grinch” never will.

Posted By Doug : November 22, 2012 4:01 am

Greg:”As such, I connect to movies like THE FIRE WITHIN at these times of the year.”
I think highly of “Morvern Callar”; I note it here as it is sorta in the jurisdiction of this post.
Most “Holidays/Christmas/New Years things” leave me cold-I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge-just a guy who has seen enough holidays. Besides-”Christmas movies” are mostly aimed at kids or the “Bad Santa” crowd.
And New Years-amateur night. Stay home and safe.
A great non-Holiday movie that makes me feel good:
“Ponette”. That gets to me in a way that “The Grinch” never will.

Posted By Emgee : November 22, 2012 5:21 am

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol always puts me in the right Holiday Spirit. A brilliant reversal of the wellworn Scrooge story.
Bah, humbug!

Posted By Emgee : November 22, 2012 5:21 am

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol always puts me in the right Holiday Spirit. A brilliant reversal of the wellworn Scrooge story.
Bah, humbug!

Posted By eyegene : November 22, 2012 3:16 pm

Reblogged this on eyegene.

Posted By eyegene : November 22, 2012 3:16 pm

Reblogged this on eyegene.

Posted By pacomalo : November 24, 2012 9:21 pm

Fine analysis.

But I’ve suffered with the hell of living with addiction and a bipolar disorder myself. That experience, though Louis Malle’s film would probably be quite a profitable experience to view — I’m gonna pass. The real life ordeal is something I really am not ready to re-experience with a master like Louis Malle callin’ the shots.

For those who may be interested, Keith Richards deals with this topic in what I found to be a quite edifying way in his recent memoir “Life”.

My two cents, for what it’s worth.

Posted By pacomalo : November 24, 2012 9:21 pm

Fine analysis.

But I’ve suffered with the hell of living with addiction and a bipolar disorder myself. That experience, though Louis Malle’s film would probably be quite a profitable experience to view — I’m gonna pass. The real life ordeal is something I really am not ready to re-experience with a master like Louis Malle callin’ the shots.

For those who may be interested, Keith Richards deals with this topic in what I found to be a quite edifying way in his recent memoir “Life”.

My two cents, for what it’s worth.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 27, 2012 8:43 am

-I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge-just a guy who has seen enough holidays… And New Years-amateur night. Stay home and safe.

Doug, we are in full agreement. Especially the New Years one. That’s what I’ve called it for as long as I can remember: Amateur night. I also avoid St. Patrick’s Day celebrations like the plague.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 27, 2012 8:43 am

-I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge-just a guy who has seen enough holidays… And New Years-amateur night. Stay home and safe.

Doug, we are in full agreement. Especially the New Years one. That’s what I’ve called it for as long as I can remember: Amateur night. I also avoid St. Patrick’s Day celebrations like the plague.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 27, 2012 8:44 am

Emgee, Rowan Atkinson can improve my mood and outlook almost anytime.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 27, 2012 8:44 am

Emgee, Rowan Atkinson can improve my mood and outlook almost anytime.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 27, 2012 8:46 am

Pacomalo, I understand and often pass on such films myself. At least with this one, you don’t have to watch the downfall or aftermath, just the decision to call it quits. Depressing enough but presented in a calmly reflective that I didn’t mind.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : November 27, 2012 8:46 am

Pacomalo, I understand and often pass on such films myself. At least with this one, you don’t have to watch the downfall or aftermath, just the decision to call it quits. Depressing enough but presented in a calmly reflective that I didn’t mind.

Posted By James : November 28, 2012 2:51 pm

That Malle’s versatility as a director gets used against him by the auteur crowd is, for me, just further proof that films should be judged on their individual merits, not how they slot into a filmmaker’s corpus.

“Trust the art, not the artist” as they say.

Watched ‘The Fire Within’ this morning, and it was all you claimed for it and more. Maurice Ronet’s portrayal of Alain leaves me at a loss for words. Acting that precise and attuned to its subject is so rare these days as to be non-existent. Also, the best use of Erik Satie’s music since, you guessed it, ‘My Dinner with Andre.’

Hey, so wait. He used Satie in both films! That’s a formal connection, a thread, right? Does that mean he’s an auteur now?

Posted By James : November 28, 2012 2:51 pm

That Malle’s versatility as a director gets used against him by the auteur crowd is, for me, just further proof that films should be judged on their individual merits, not how they slot into a filmmaker’s corpus.

“Trust the art, not the artist” as they say.

Watched ‘The Fire Within’ this morning, and it was all you claimed for it and more. Maurice Ronet’s portrayal of Alain leaves me at a loss for words. Acting that precise and attuned to its subject is so rare these days as to be non-existent. Also, the best use of Erik Satie’s music since, you guessed it, ‘My Dinner with Andre.’

Hey, so wait. He used Satie in both films! That’s a formal connection, a thread, right? Does that mean he’s an auteur now?

Posted By Ryan Stephens : December 15, 2012 4:33 pm

For anybody who enjoys The Fire Within, I would highly suggest watching Joachim Trier’s remake Oslo, August 31st. It’s an insanely well-made film from 2011, though it didn’t make it to me until 2012. Barring what I may see in the next 2 weeks, I would unquestionably say Oslo, August 31st is my favourite film of 2012.

Trier handles the subject matter (although this time it’s drugs) in such a heartfelt way that, as depressing as addiction may be, I found myself leaving the theatre not so much sad as just profoundly affected. Also, much like Maurice Ronet, Anders Danielsen Lie puts on such a stunning performance that I will be locked onto his career as it develops over the years.

Posted By Ryan Stephens : December 15, 2012 4:33 pm

For anybody who enjoys The Fire Within, I would highly suggest watching Joachim Trier’s remake Oslo, August 31st. It’s an insanely well-made film from 2011, though it didn’t make it to me until 2012. Barring what I may see in the next 2 weeks, I would unquestionably say Oslo, August 31st is my favourite film of 2012.

Trier handles the subject matter (although this time it’s drugs) in such a heartfelt way that, as depressing as addiction may be, I found myself leaving the theatre not so much sad as just profoundly affected. Also, much like Maurice Ronet, Anders Danielsen Lie puts on such a stunning performance that I will be locked onto his career as it develops over the years.

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