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Don't Let Me Die On A Sunday


Don't Let Me Die On A Sunday

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Don't Let Me Die On A Sunday, a sleekly reprehensible French film about the desperate extremes of urban malaise, opens with what, in its provocative terms, would qualify as a meet-cute. Morgue employee Jean-Marc Barr, a brooding loner with a taste for transgressive sex, returns to work to find the beautiful corpse of Élodie Bouchez (The Dreamlife Of Angels) laid out on a slab, the apparent victim of an ecstasy overdose. Using a technique not recommended in most respectable medical books, he resuscitates her lifeless body, leaving her with an unusual romantic conundrum: Does the end justify the means? Since his necrophilic act has resulted in her no longer being dead, the answer seems to be a tentative yes, as Bouchez and her father drop the criminal charges against him. Bouchez's strange fascination with Barr exposes her to the seedy Paris underworld, where he and his friends frequent wild techno bars and sadomasochistic orgies in an effort to feel anything other than vague despair. If nothing else, writer-director Didier Le Pêcheur seems aware of the paradox that no matter how much of the screen is occupied with latex, whips, and nipple clamps, his audience is probably just as desensitized as his characters. Much like David Cronenberg's superior Crash, Don't Let Me Die On A Sunday is composed of chilly, clinical surfaces and eerily placid expressions, but its miserablism seems fashionable and empty-headed, without a trace of Crash's hypnotic tone or subversive humor. Only the always-excellent Bouchez breaks through the lethargy, because she's the one person in the cast who's allowed to emote. Made at a time when nothing is shocking, Don't Let Me Die On A Sunday has to go to great lengths just to be merely unpleasant. But Le Pêcheur's dilemma is understandable: After someone has sex with a corpse, what do you do for a encore?