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

 -  Drama  -  29 January 1969 (France)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 74 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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
François Toledo
Caroline Cellier ...
Caroline
Janine Magnan ...
Janine
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 ...
Sophie
Sylvia Saurel ...
Prostituée (as Sylvie Saurel)
Denyse Roland ...
Prostituée
Rita Maiden ...
La prostituée en voiture
Pierre Collet ...
Le bourreau
Albert Rajau ...
Assistant du bourreau
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Storyline

"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

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

29 January 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Life Love Death  »

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User Reviews

 
Novel perspective for a crime drama
19 December 2003 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Why are the police so interested in Francois Toledo? He seems like a regular guy, with a loving family and steady job at an auto factory. True, he does have an ongoing adulterous affair with an divorced co-worker. But that hardly seems to warrant the attention of five cops, who await outside the motel room that Francois rents by the hour. After all, this is France . land of `Amour.'

The police explain that they're waiting for a suspicious noise. When none materializes, they leave the motel to wait for another day. Seems like a waste of taxpayers dollars (francs).

The authorities do finally nab Francois, interrogate him, and bring him to trial. Even after the trial, the viewer wonders what all of the fuss is about. The viewer is uncertain about Francois' guilt. The punishment does not seem to fit the crime.

The pace slows to a crawl once Francois begins serving his prison sentence. The slow pace is purposeful and appropriate. The tedium of prison life is made palpable for the viewer, such as Francois' endless staring at the ceiling lamp in his cell.

One of my favorite images is the Sunday worship service in the ol' cell block. The priest is on a raised platform at the intersection of two hallways. The layout of the prison almost looks like the layout of a cathedral.

It's not until most of the way through the film that we learn about Francois' past. We see flashbacks, heretofore unseen, from the alleged crimes, the investigation, and the trial testimony.

Although I'm not a fan of Claude LeLouche films, I really liked this one. It grabbed my interest from the start, and held it the whole way. The only negative, in my opinion, is the political message voiced over at the end.

I reviewed this movie as part of a project at the Library of Congress. I've named the project FIFTY: 50 Notable Films Forgotten Within 50 Years. As best I can determine, this film, like the other forty-nine I've identified, has not been on video, telecast, or distributed in the U.S. since its original release. In my opinion, it is worthy of being made available again.


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