Le Feu follet (A Time to Live and a Time to Die) (The Fire Within)
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Le Feu follet (A Time to Live and a Time to Die) (The Fire Within)
Maurice Ronet plays an alcoholic writer, Alain Leroy, who is on the verge of suicide (his character is based on writer Jacques Rigaut, who killed himself in 1929). The psychiatrist assigned to Leroy is no help, advising his patient to seek a reconciliation with his wife, who is still smarting from Leroy's recent liaison with Lydia (Lena Skerla). Still obsessed with the notion of taking his own life, Leroy plans to stage his demise on July 23. A last-ditch effort to jolly himself out of his doldrums fails, and Leroy, with a picture of Marilyn Monroe at his side, snuffs himself out. Though a… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Arguably the finest of Malle's early films."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"It's a penetrating study of a man at the end of his rope, and a searing re-creation of a social milieu."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"One of Louis Malle's finest early films."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Highly introspective, often tenderly touching and sometimes tediously redundant."
‑ A.H. Weiler, New York Times
"To be frank, Fire Within devastated me when I saw it in college, but the unrelieved ennui that struck me as scrupulously honest and brave then looks one-note and aimless to me now."
‑ Dan Callahan, Slant Magazine
"A lost classic."
‑ Jon Fortgang, Film4
"The film is a triumph of style. It is quiet and indicative. It doesn't explain a lot, but we understand a lot about it all the same."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Generally regarded as Malle's best work."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Darkly unsentimental yet admirably compassionate."
‑ Tom Dawson, BBC.com