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If a French movie can be an equivalent of the American series B -not meant pejoratively,some of them are better than the "A"-,it 's this one. Very original,often suspenseful,with a lot of these unexpected twists today's audience is very fond of :to think of a remake would not be irrelevant since directing is just OK and could be improved with a great director -Merenda ,who made "pensione edelweiss" ,is virtually unknown and it's the actors -Ventura and Vidal- who save the movie.
But the plot is really exciting! A man(Vidal) who was injured in an accident (or was it a suicide attempt?) has a visitor in his hospital;the man suggests a strange deal:in exchange for a substantial amount of money,he will go to a hotel (Pensione Edelweiss)where ,when he does not expect it,he will be softly killed ("you'll live this world like a balloon which a child releases")When he arrives,he finds six other people who apparently registers the same desire :to leave this world for a better one.A scary hotel-keeper (Ventura)takes care of the residents and every time an ominous music is heard ,someone gets killed .Outside the fact that we do know the killer,it resembles Agatha Christie's 'ten little Indians" -the second version of this classic,filmed by George Pollock in 1965 ,will take place in the mountains too ,complete with cable-car-.But Agatha Christie would never have allowed herself the ending!
The film succeeds in portraying these men and woman who've chosen to die and yet fear that it may be their turn when the sinister music comes again (sometimes Ventura plays it on the piano,sometimes it's a record,sometimes a harmonica)
Spoiler:the ending comes from Hitchcock's "suspiscion" mold ;"stuntman" is another good example ;and,like it or not ,Fincher's " the game" is not that much original because it is built around the same concept too.
A sad note:Henri Vidal was to die of a heart attack the following year.He was only 40.
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