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
     backfires.

             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.

                                     Rating:                D
                                     MPAA Rating:       None
                                     Running time:      86 mins.
© 2008 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.