|The Fire Within|
DVD Cover (Arte)
|Directed by||Louis Malle|
|Screenplay by||Louis Malle|
|Based on||Will O' the Wisp by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle|
|Starring||Maurice Ronet |
|Music by||Erik Satie|
|Edited by||Suzanne Baron|
|Distributed by||Gibraltar Productions|
Governor Films Inc.
The Fire Within (French: Le feu follet [l? fø f?l?], meaning "The Manic Fire" or "Will-o'-the-Wisp") is a 1963 French drama film directed by Louis Malle. It is based on the novel Will O' the Wisp by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle which itself was inspired by the life of Jacques Rigaut. The film stars Maurice Ronet, Jeanne Moreau--who had previously worked with Ronet and Malle in Elevator to the Gallows--as well as Alexandra Stewart, Bernard Noel, Lena Skerla, Hubert Deschamps and Yvonne Clech. The score features the music of Erik Satie.
Alain Leroy, a recovering alcoholic at a rehabilitation clinic in Versailles, suffers from depression. He intends to commit suicide, but first decides to visit his friends in Paris one final time, trying to find a reason to live.
The stark contrast and seemingly pointless nature of his friends' bourgeois existence only brings Leroy into a state of even further contention with his absence of meaning in life, perceived by him. Without much fanfare he returns home and kills himself, having had traveled and arced and tried, hoping to seek out an answer or meaning, but discovering that all there was to find was more complication and more intensity when it came to his state of question on whether or not life was worth living any longer.
The film was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 36th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee. In his 2006 Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin gives the film 3.5 stars (out of four) and calls it "probably Malle's best early film."Roger Ebert gives the film the same rating, describing it as a "triumph of style." 
U.S. director Wes Anderson's works were generally influenced by Malle, with The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) particularly drawing from The Fire Within. A line from The Fire Within is also translated into English and appears as "I'm going to kill myself tomorrow" in The Royal Tenenbaums.