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Life Love Death (1969)
"La vie, l'amour, la mort" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama  |  29 January 1969 (France)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 80 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

"Life, Love, Death" was made before the abolition of capital punishment in France. Its central message is the inhumanity of the guillotine. The film, which is shot somewhat in a cinema ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
François Toledo
Caroline Cellier ...
Janine Magnan ...
Marcel Bozzuffi ...
Le commissaire Marchand
Pierre Zimmer ...
L'officier de police
Catherine Samie ...
Julie - la prostituée
Lisette Bersy ...
Helene - la belle-mère
Albert Naud ...
L'avocat de la défense
Jean-Pierre Sloan ...
Le procureur
Nathalie Durrand ...
Sylvia Saurel ...
Prostituée (as Sylvie Saurel)
Denyse Roland ...
Rita Maiden ...
La prostituée en voiture
Pierre Collet ...
Le bourreau
Albert Rajau ...
Assistant du bourreau


"Life, Love, Death" was made before the abolition of capital punishment in France. Its central message is the inhumanity of the guillotine. The film, which is shot somewhat in a cinema verite style, divides roughly into three acts. In Act One, there is a series of murders of prostitutes in Paris. An obviously deeply disturbed man is hiring these prostitutes and then strangling them. Suspicion falls on François (Amidou), a married man with a child. The police put him under surveillance. (Viewers will recognize the inspector in charge of the team as Marcel Bozzuffi, who would play Popeye Doyle's nemesis in The French Connection a couple of years later.) Ironically, François is experiencing spiritual healing and renewal through the power of love---not with his wife, of course, this being a French film, but through an affair with a beautiful young woman he has met (not a prostitute). But just as this is happening and François seems to have lost the need to commit violent crimes, he is ... Written by mfisher452

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There are times when crime can be a kind of justice...and justice a kind of crime.




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Release Date:

29 January 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Life Love Death  »

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User Reviews

Death ceremony
7 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

André Cayatte was the first in France-all the baby boomers nurtured on the "good " principles of the " Cahiers du Cinema" tend to forget it-to expose his disgust for the death penalty.It was 1952,please do not forget it!"Nous sommes tous des assassins " already showed it all,the prisoners' fear at night when it might be THE morning,the depiction in lavish details of the whole scene which used to relegate France to Barbary...

Seventeen years after,enter Claude Lelouch.I must confess I 'm not a big fan of that director.There are notable exceptions of course and "la vie ,l'amour et la mort" is part of them.Perhaps Lelouch's best ,just after two documentaries and just before the boring "UN Homme Qui me Plait" ,it was ,in the wake of the spirit of May 68 ,a heartfelt plea against the guillotine and the bestial rites which surround the execution.The actors were all virtually unknown -which is a departure from Lelouch's stuff which generally features French (and foreign) stars galore.Caroline Cellier was featured in Chabrol's excellent "Que la Bête Meure" and nobody had heard of Amidou when the movie was released.

Amidou's "mental disease" provides the movie with its main flaw:his impotence when he is with prostitutes ,his life with his wife,his brand new love with one of his colleagues ,all of this do not hang well.But the construction of the film is subtle :during the first half of the movie,we do not exactly know why the police try to get Toledo.Some people who do not know about the very subject of the film might think the hero is victim of a miscarriage of justice (The verdict is anyway). After the verdict,the color turns black and white (a smart move) and a voice-over tells about of the conditions of life of a man who is going to die.Flashbacks (in color) explains (in the last part) why Toledo was sentenced to die.It's all the more remarkable as his questioning by the police captain is completely silent.We cannot hear what the mouths are saying.

It was not a big smash for Lelouch who would soon return to more commercial stuff ,emerging from time to time with the occasional entertaining comedy ("La Bonne Année" " Le Voyou" )but without any genuine creativity.

The next link on the chain begun by Cayatte in 1952 which Lelouch continued was Jose Giovanni's "Deux Hommes dans la Ville" where Delon's character also died on the guillotine.Then there was Michel Drach's "Le Pull -Over Rouge" (recently remade as a made-for-TV film "l'Affaire Ranucci")in 1979,and finally by 1981,there was no more death penalty in France.

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