The Fire Within

  • 1963
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Ronet is an alcoholic writer who no longer sees any choice for himself except suicide. When he proves impotent in an encounter with a friend (Skerla) of his estranged wife, she takes him back to the sanitarium from which he has just been discharged. He tells the doctor that he is awash with anxiety, but the doctor only recommends that he telephone his wife...read more

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Ronet is an alcoholic writer who no longer sees any choice for himself except suicide. When he proves impotent in an encounter with a friend (Skerla) of his estranged wife, she takes him back to the sanitarium from which he has just been discharged. He tells the doctor that he is awash

with anxiety, but the doctor only recommends that he telephone his wife and tell her everything is fine. Ronet begins reading a book, cuts out a picture of Marilyn Monroe and several obituaries, and keeps a diary in which he has targeted July 23 as the date of his suicide. He travels to Paris to

visit some old friends, but he is unable or unwilling to communicate with them. He returns to the sanitarium the next day, July 23, finishes his book, then calmly shoots himself through the heart. On the screen appears Ronet's reason for his act:"I kill myself because you have not loved me,

because I haven't loved you. I kill myself because the bonds between us were loose, and to tighten those bonds. I will leave an indelible stain on you." Generally regarded as Malle's best work, THE FIRE WITHIN is a somber study of a man gradually cutting himself off from everything until there is

no more reason to remain alive. Malle adapted the story from a 1931 novel by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle which fictionalized the suicide of surrealist writer Jacques Rigaut in 1929. La Rochelle, who collaborated with the German occupiers in World War II, himself committed suicide in 1945. A

commercial failure, Malle himself best summed up why: "It is such a harsh subject, and it's such a depressing movie."

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Ronet is an alcoholic writer who no longer sees any choice for himself except suicide. When he proves impotent in an encounter with a friend (Skerla) of his estranged wife, she takes him back to the sanitarium from which he has just been discharged. He tel… (more)

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