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1,725 Ratings

The Fire Within

Le feu follet

Directed by Louis Malle
France, 1963


Maurice Ronet, in an implosive, haunted performance, plays Alain Leroy, a self-destructive writer who resolves to kill himself and spends the next twenty-four hours trying to reconnect with a host of wayward friends. The Fire Within is one of Louis Malle’s darkest and most personal films.

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The Fire Within Directed by Louis Malle

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1963 | 2 wins including: Special Jury Prize

Critics reviews

Malle’s film is much more an evocation of the feeling of hopeless dismay than a documentary recreation of its realities. Things flow much more abstrusely, and the narrative often seems to be operating just outside the functional limits of reality; at its most extreme it feels like the dream of a dying man, his consciousness floating off into the ether, reaching back down to the earth he’s leaving behind.
March 17, 2013
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When all is said and done, and all the cultural cross-references have been endlessly sifted, The Fire Within remains a very trivial film by a very presumptuous director. Malle’s self-pity here is even more boring than Fellini’s in 8 1/2 and his personal confession equally unsolicited.
February 27, 1964
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