Yeah that's what I said. Depressed people seem to be acting harsh but people often misunderstand the root of the problem, which is what this movie is about. This movie portrays it so well that it's hard to watch.
“Fire Within” by Luis Malle (1963) makes the viewers ask themselves and try to answer – why Alain Leroy, an intelligent, good looking man, successful with women and having friends with connections, thinks about suicide? Is there something wrong with him, and if so, what can it be? He doesn’t look like an eccentric in any way. He talks like an educated and a genuine human being, without affectation and rhetorical effects. Why could he lose the feeling of life’s value? His psychiatrist tries to persuade him to concentrate on bright side of life – the world’s challenges and mysteries, to give himself to the joys of sex and adventure. But Alain contemplates suicide not because something is wrong with him (he is quite able to enjoy life), but because something is wrong with the world. He observes that life makes people too worried, too frustrated and too indifferent or cruel to one another. He feels that the human world is crooked and he tries to understand why, and it is at this point he became disappointed in life as it is offered to us. Luis Malle gives Alain the floor/screen, gives him the chance to explain to the viewers what the problem is. With never fading curiosity and sometimes amazement we observe Alain’s “philosophical agony” vis-à-vis the human world we all live in. And the director gives more than a fair chance to Alain’s friends to try to persuade him to continue to live. The film is constructed as a kind of Platonic dialogues between a human being and world, through visual images and interpersonal situations. The film is in no way “theoretical”: all the arguments are symbolic and existentially rooted. The film is for the living human beings, not for intellectuals by profession. We as viewers are given chance to see both sides – the individual human being and the world in general. We, as if, have to decide for Alain his choice. Did Alain die in order to help us continue to live? May be, Malle made this film to reinforce our desire to live if we are able to comprehend Alain’s reasons for wanting to die. Will Alain’s suicide awaken us to a more genuine, less vain living? The actors are emotionally sensitive, intellectually proficient and semantically competent. They play characters caught between life and death, as we all are. “Fire Within” is not only an exquisitely “intellectual” but an existentially “philosophical” film of a rare organic combination of psychological sophistication and common humanity for all those who are living and thinking about life. Victor Enyutin
I can relate to this film. The searching, the dead desire, the philosophies. It's that utter disgust for and confusion of life that hurtles him into the next day. Some of the close ups and segments with the Satie music were very simple and beautiful. You could see the fleeting hopefulness in his friends' faces. Despite all of this, I too expected something more, but maybe that's the point. The ending was apt.
Neither the youthful abscondment of Elevator to the Gallows nor the matured yearning of The Lovers, The Fire Within cuts through the post-adolescent, anguished search for meaning against desire and connection, through the male gaze with a restrained, Bressonian sobriety. Notwithstanding a muffled humanity, its exchanges of apathy, however, brink on arid platitudes, as Malle’s versatility remains tacitly exhibited. Alternatively: Breathless, had Godard and Belmondo been that much greater nihilists (while just less of one than Pickpocket still). Rather: ho-hum.
this was certainly one of the best portrayals of anxiety and depression that I've seen on film during this time. this was also a much darker piece of French new wave cinema, and much quieter. it hangs on every word, every scene, with no colors to hang to. the day he says his goodbyes is echoing every now and then, in his mind. the film is beautifully depressing, but needs to be seen.
Suicidal and clinically depressed people are definitely hard to be around, and its almost shocking to watch all these other people who love the main character keep saying things like, "I'm so happy to see you! We need you back! You must keep checking in!" when the guy acts like a jerk to everyone, but so goes sitting for two hours with an actually depressed person. If that's what you want to watch. --PolarisDiB
A man contemplating suicide, not the easiest mindset to get into. But here – as with Oslo, August 31st, the contemporary rendition of the same short novel – I had the feeling that I really "got it". Scary!
For some people, happiness is a very difficult thing. The movie is a melancholic exploration into the internal landscape of Alain Leroy, and is superbly acted every step of the way. Maurice Ronet is fascinating to watch, and Malle treats the plot as a disheveled empty room, each cast aside item slowly gazed upon.
So many scenes with wrong punctuations in dialogue, photography and and editing (typical feat in "french new wave") and in the end a depressingly mediocre movie about a subject that is close to my cold, black heart. It made me want to drink though and I finished a bottle of fine red wine while watching it. Fucking Oscars on TV... makes me want to shoot myself.
Deeper and deeper down into a man's soul. Malle's direction is elegant, he reveals the spaces of gray between light and shadow, and reflections in a mirror. At times the film resembles Antonioni, but it's warmer and more human, it's less about ideas and more about people, reaching out and searching. The ending is jarring, and while not unexpected packs an emotional wallop. I cared so much for Alain.
the thing is... i can't reach out with my hands. i can't touch things. and when i do touch things, i feel nothing.
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