Louis Malle

The Fire Within

The Fire Within

After garnering international acclaim for such seminal crowd-pleasers as The Lovers and Zazie dans le métro, Louis Malle gave his fans a shock with The Fire Within (Le feu follet), a penetrating study of individual and social inertia. Maurice Ronet (Elevator to the Gallows), in an implosive, haunted performance, plays Alain Leroy, a self-destructive writer who resolves to kill himself and spends the next twenty-four hours trying to reconnect with a host of wayward friends. Unsparing in its portrait of Alain’s inner turmoil and shot with remarkable clarity, The Fire Within is one of Malle's darkest and most personal films.

Film Info

  • Louis Malle
  • France
  • 1963
  • 108 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.66:1
  • French
  • Spine #430

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Archival interviews with director Louis Malle and actor Maurice Ronet
  • Malle's Fire Within, a new video program featuring interviews with actor Alexandra Stewart and filmmakers Philippe Collin and Volker Schlöndorff
  • Jusqu'au 23 Juillet, a 2005 documentary short about the film and its source novel Le feu follet, by Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, featuring actor Mathieu Amalric, writer Didier Daeninckx, and Cannes festival curator Pierre-Henri Deleau
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by critic Michel Ciment and film historian Peter Cowie

New cover by Rodrigo Corral

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Archival interviews with director Louis Malle and actor Maurice Ronet
  • Malle's Fire Within, a new video program featuring interviews with actor Alexandra Stewart and filmmakers Philippe Collin and Volker Schlöndorff
  • Jusqu'au 23 Juillet, a 2005 documentary short about the film and its source novel Le feu follet, by Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, featuring actor Mathieu Amalric, writer Didier Daeninckx, and Cannes festival curator Pierre-Henri Deleau
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by critic Michel Ciment and film historian Peter Cowie

New cover by Rodrigo Corral

The Fire Within
Cast
Maurice Ronet
Alain Leroy
Léna Skerla
Lydia
Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne
Yvonne Clech
Ms. Farnoux
Hubert Deschamps
d’Averseau
Jean-Paul Moulinot
Dr. La Barbinais
Mona Dol
Mrs. La Barbinais
Pierre Moncorbier
Moraire
René Dupuis / Dupuy
Charlie
Bernard Tiphaine
Milou
Bernard Noel
Duborg
Ursula Kubler
Fanny
Alexandra Stewart
Solange
Jacques Sereys
Cyrille Lavaud
Tony Taffin
Brancion
Credits
Director
Louis Malle
Producer
Alain Queffelean
Screenplay
Louis Malle
Based on a novel by
Pierre Drieu la Rochelle
Cinematography
Ghislain Cloquet
Editing
Suzanne Baron
Sound
Guy Villette
Collaborating director
Philippe Colin
Assistant director
Volker Schlöndorff

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Explore

Louis Malle

Writer, Director

Louis Malle
Louis Malle

Crime dramas, comedies, romances, tragedies, fantasies, documentaries, and, of course, coming-of-age stories­—director Louis Malle did it all. This most unpredictable and eclectic of filmmakers enriched cinema over a nearly forty-year career that took him from Jacques Cousteau’s watery depths (his first film was the Cousteau-codirected Oscar winner The Silent World) to the peripheries of the French New Wave (Zazie dans le métro, The Fire Within) to the vanguard of American moviemaking (My Dinner with André). Malle had an intellectually curious nature that led him to approach film from a variety of angles; he was as comfortable making minimalist works like the wordless Humain trop humain and the talky André as phantasmagorical ones like Black Moon. He is probably best known, though, for his deeply personal films about the terrors and confusions of childhood, such as Murmur of the Heart and Au revoir les enfants. Perhaps not as well-known is his parallel career as a master of the nonfiction form—one of his many documentary achievements was the seven-part Phantom India, which would be a stunning career centerpiece for anyone else; for this director, it was simply a fascinating side project. Malle died in 1995, shortly after directing his final film, the typically experimental Vanya on 42nd Street.