GenreDrama Music directorErik Satie CountryItaly
Release date15 October 1963 (1963-10-15) Based onWill O the Wisp by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle WriterPierre Drieu La Rochelle (based on the novel by) CastMaurice Ronet (Alain Leroy), Léna Skerla (Lydia), Yvonne Clech (Mademoiselle Farnoux), Hubert Deschamps (D'Averseau), Jean-Paul Moulinot (Dr. La Barbinais), Mona Dol (Madame La Barbinais) Similar moviesFish Tank, Factory Girl, The Last Witch Hunter, Angel, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, Jupiter Ascending
Le feu follete the fire within 1963
The Fire Within (French: Le feu follet[lə fø fɔlɛ], meaning "The Manic Fire" or "Will-o'-the-Wisp") is a 1963 French drama film directed by Louis Malle. It is based on the novel Will O' the Wisp by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle which itself was inspired by the life of Jacques Rigaut. The film stars Maurice Ronet, Jeanne Moreau—who had previously worked with Ronet and Malle in Elevator to the Gallows—as well as Alexandra Stewart, Bernard Noel, Lena Skerla, Hubert Deschamps and Yvonne Clech. The score features the music of Erik Satie.
Alain Leroy, a recovering alcoholic at a rehabilitation clinic in Versailles suffers with a depression. He intends to commit suicide, but first decides to visit his friends in Paris one final time, trying to find a reason to live.
The stark contrast and seemingly pointless nature of his friends' bourgeois existence only brings Leroy into a state of even further contention with his absence of meaning in life, perceived by him. Without much fanfare he returns home and kills himself, having had traveled and arced and tried, hoping to seek out an answer or meaning, but discovering that all there was to find was more complication and more intensity when it came to his state of question on whether or not life was worth living any longer.
Maurice Ronet as Alain Leroy
Léna Skerla as Lydia
Yvonne Clech as Mademoiselle Farnoux
Hubert Deschamps as D'Averseau
Jean-Paul Moulinot as Dr. La Barbinais
Mona Dol as Madame La Barbinais
Pierre Moncorbier as Moraine
René Dupuy as Charlie (as René Dupuis)
Bernard Tiphaine as Milou
Bernard Noël as Dubourg
Ursula Kubler as Fanny
Jeanne Moreau as Eva
Alexandra Stewart as Solange
The film was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 36th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee. In his 2006 Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin gives the film 3.5 stars (out of four) and calls it "probably Malle's best early film." Roger Ebert gives the film the same rating, describing it as a "triumph of style."
U.S. director Wes Anderson's works were generally influenced by Malle, with The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) particularly drawing from The Fire Within. A line from The Fire Within is also translated into English and appears as "I'm going to kill myself tomorrow" in The Royal Tenenbaums.