|Don't Let Me Die on a Sunday
[J'aimerais pas crever un dimanche]
J'aimerais pas crever un dimanche, released under its English title
of Don't Let Me Die on a Sunday, is a director Didier Le Pecheur's second
film. Like his debut feature, News From the Good Lord, this one posits the
somewhat intriguing notion that death is not something to be feared but
instead embraced in a joyful manner. In choosing to build this story around
a freewheeling group of sybarites, however, the writer-director manages
to dilute whatever intentions he may have had. This group is an unpleasant
bunch lacking even the most basic human emotions.
Still, the film opens with a brilliantly edited sequence that crosscuts
between a young woman dancing and drugging in a strobe-lit disco with a
sex act involving one woman and two men. After the young woman falls
to the dance floor, the audience learns the threesome was occurring in
a morgue! The men, Ben (Jean-Marc Barr) and Boris (Patrick Catalifo), are
attendants there and were passing time until the late hours of a Saturday
night when their work increases. Indeed, Teresa (Elodie Bouchez, who
made a terrific impression in The Dreamlife of Angels) is wheeled in. Ben
is somehow mesmerized by this dark-haired gamine and after completing
his shift still cannot shake her image. He violates protocol and decency by
committing necrophilia (mercifully, off screen), yet something amazing
has happened. The girl is not deceased, but lives. Ben is threatened with
legal charges but Teresa and her immigrant father both refuse to press
charges, so he is merely suspended from work. His wife leaves him and
is mistress indulges in his fantasies (she was the woman in the opening
sequence) at an S&M club.
In an attempt to humanize these characters, Le Pecheur has Ben,
Boris and a third colleague spring AIDS patient Nico (Jean Michel Fete) from
the hospital and ferry him to a lakeside home where he can die in peace.
There is something cheap about the way the filmmaker uses an AIDS patient
as a symbolic link between his two major themes. (We are told that Nico
contracted the disease via unprotected sex with a woman.) In introducing
this character, Le Pecheur makes a flagrant plea for the audience's sympathy,
but since his friends come across as self-absorbed and single-minded, it
It is only a matter of time before Teresa shows up at Ben's home,
ostensibly to thank him for resurrecting her. Again, Le Pecheur stretches
credulity by asking the audience to accept that these two share some sort
of mystical bond that blossoms into love. Teresa gloms onto Ben, even
accompanying him to a night at one of the S&M clubs. Along the way,they
save a man (Martin Petitguyot) from committing suicide and he becomes
a willing participant in their odd sexual games.
Before the sexual revolution hit American shores, one often had
to seek out foreign films for "adult" fare. Perhaps at one time,
J'aimerais pas crever un dimanche/Don't Let Me Die on a Sunday
might have offered some titillation. In today's less constricted times,
it comes across as confusing. The film also wastes the talents of two
fine actors -- Barr and Bouchez -- which is even more of a crime. Still,
most actors have at least one stinker on their resumes; for those two
gifted performers, this may be it.
MPAA Rating: None
Running time: 86 mins.
|© 2008 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.