5.5/10
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Diary of a Suicide (1973)

Le journal d'un suicidé (original title)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
L'interprète
...
Le guide
...
La jeune anarchiste
Sacha Pitoëff ...
Le geôlier
...
L'homme qui ne rit plus
Roland Bertin ...
L'anarchiste
Paul Pavel ...
Le condamné à mort
Gabrielle Robinne ...
La vieille dame
Henri Poirier ...
Le commissaire
Jean Rupert ...
Un flic
Roger Trapp ...
Un flic
Alex Kinoo
André Dumas
Catherine Derain
Pierre-Henri Deleau
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anarchism | See All (1) »

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Release Date:

22 March 1973 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Diary of a Suicide  »

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| (Eastmancolor)

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1.50 : 1
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""Triste présage""
written by Catherine Derain
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User Reviews

Unsuccessful but intriguing experimental film
24 November 2010 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

I took copious notes when finally getting a chance to see this nearly 40 year-old foreign film, but I'll try to keep my review brief: you need to watch this one to capture its flavor. Typical of the experimental movies of the '60s and '70s, it's a take it or leave it, abstract exercise.

My favorite French heartthrob Sami Frey is well-cast as a cruise ship tour guide, his long hair flashing in the wind romantically when called for. Though top-billed, lustrous Delphine Seyrig is more of a guest star, as the interpreter aboard ship whom we want Sami to make it with, but in these abstract (dare I say Marienbad genre?) films they merely schmooze.

Film is effectively shot in black & white, with many shots and scenes later on presented in a variety of tints, the format of Silent Cinema. There are brief outbursts of color, but the b&w plus monochrome tints dominates.

Main story is introduced about three reels into the film, with Marie-France Pisier cast against type as a revolutionary, later imprisoned after a bombing goes awry. Sacha Pitoeff steals the movie as her jailer, a dour but ultimately sympathetic personage with tons of back story and a screen presence that puts his three certified Superstar co-stars to shame. The trendy casting of Delphine, Sami and M-F, all very hot back then, is typical of these Euro experiments (see: Alain Robbe-Grillet, master of the form).

It takes forever for the plot strands, flashbacks and coincidences to coalesce, but filmmaker Stanislav Stanojevic delivers a very satisfying Chris Nolan-style tying up scene built around a stage show that Sami attends, featuring a chanteuse and her violent partner. It's worth waiting for. The ongoing film buff discussion of art vs. commerce is relevant here: like so many experimental directors Stanojevic never got a viable career going.

Given its genre, film also includes sexploitation elements, notably a gratuitous but "goods delivered" scene in color of full frontal nudity involving five beautiful prostitutes that Pitoeff visited at a brothel back when he was a young soldier. I doubt if this film was ever shown in America, but it's worth a look, especially if you're a Frey and Seyrig completist like me.


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