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The Inner Scar (1972)

La cicatrice intérieure (original title)
A composition of symbolic, surreal and almost mystic images.



, (dialogue)


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Stars: Nico, Dominique Sanda, Anita Pallenberg


Complete credited cast:
Nico ...
The Woman
Man / Devil
Christian Päffgen ...
Child / LittleBrother (as Christian Aaron Boulogne)
Daniel Pommereulle ...
Horseman / Archer
Balthazar Clémenti ...
Jean-Pierre Kalfon ...
Fire-keeper / King


A composition of symbolic, surreal and almost mystic images.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Music





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Release Date:

2 February 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Inner Scar  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film has no opening or closing credits. The director has forbidden subtitles in this film. The film was entirely filmed on location. See more »


[first lines]
The Woman: Where are you taking me?
See more »


Featured in Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (2004) See more »


Composed and Performed by Nico
from the album "Desertshore"
See more »

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User Reviews

Doesn't mean a thing but it's sure beautiful
21 October 2012 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

Amidst my usual apathy, often charged at its highest while watching some mediocre films or others that are quite good but sometimes lacking of good rhythm becoming painfully distractive things, "Le Cicatrice Intérieure" managed to do some good without demanding much.

On the surface this is hauntingly beautiful, very mesmerizing and very attractive to look at; deep inside within its few spoken words in three languages and in the echoes of nature, the story tries to be poetic, with some brainy meaning but no, it's pure boloney. It's very pretentious yet it's not something harmful. And c'mon it only takes 55 minutes to make its case.

The story (if there is one) revolves around a woman (Nico) trapped in the desert trying to get out of there along with a man (played by the film's director/writer Philiippe Garrel), a devil (also him), and one archer (Pierre Clementi, completely naked in all of the scenes he's in) who shares some messages with her. There's other characters, talks about faith, some randomness that knows no limits and that's my take on the plot.

I'm not gonna be cruel with this picture due to reasons. It looks like a long student project made in the 1970's, taking advantage of the whole counterculture already existent, and looks like something made out of improvisation after improvisation. It goes like this: everyone involved were under the influence of substances and they came up with this thing. Simple as that. It's not bad, just doesn't make much sense unless you're in the state the makers were, flying high as a kite, alternating illusion with reality, having visions of another world.

Despite this theory of mine, "La Cicatrice Intérieure" ("The Inner Scar") is fun to watch. Mysterious, a little bit engaging but complicated to understand. Garrel knows how to produce mythical images and hypnotic moments of pure beauty (I discovered this film after one gif of a scene with a horseman and his horse surrounded on a circle of fire and a kid watching them), it's fine but too bad that in this case he didn't knew how to develop substantial ideas worthy of praise and debate. It's filled of symbols but they don't arouse anything valuable or of interest. I can say he's a better director now, his "La Naissance de L'amour" was one of those surprising works where you ask yourself deep questions you've never thought of before.

Surreal at its average level, "La Cicatrice Intérieure" is a watchable piece for those who have patience to endure its enigmatic moving images. I liked it but I really wanted more. Didn't die of boredom like most people but haven't got rewarded with the effort. OK, only for the beauty, sometimes that's all we need to move through life once in a while. 6/10

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