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Don't Let Me Die on a Sunday (1998)


There is a particular kind of pleasure in seeing a really bad movie — at least you have the advantage of expressing anger, frustration, or resentment –a visceral response of some kind, no matter how unsatisfying that is.

Don’t Let Me Die on a Sunday won’t even give you the satisfaction of disgust or hatred; it is simply too dull for that.

After a wild techno music party infused with all kinds of sex, drugs and alcohol, a young woman named Terese (Élodie Bouchez) arrives at the local morgue: She is pronounced dead from a drug overdose. Her beautiful corpse attracts the attention of a gloomy, violent morgue attendant named Ben (Jean-Marc Barr), a necrophiliac whose sexual voracity is so powerful it brings the woman back to life. With Ben, she discovers an alternative lifestyle — a subculture of sex fanatics, latex, nipple clamps, and other trappings of a supposedly promiscuous sexual underworld.

With this premise, the film could have been realized as a farce or at least black comedy, had it managed to have a drop of humor and panache in presenting such distasteful material. Instead, what could have been a wild quest for endless sexual gratification is realized in boring series of catatonic sexual gyrations, completely devoid of fun and pleasure. The film becomes an odyssey of dead people walking: aloof and desensitized, they inhabit the world of dark hallways, sex clubs, morgue corridors, and vast empty spaces. Their world is a place in which normal human relationships can’t possibly be found: Ben and his fellow co-workers escape what they call ordinary life in pursuit of orgies, death worship, petty violence, and emotional vacuum. The most unfortunate of all is that the film treats its material with a straight face and frightening absence of imagination and humor, and — for those interested in adventuresome French sexual escapades — without even a slight attempt to be daring or transgressive.

Even the wonderful Élodie Bouchez, who won the Best Actress Award at Cannes in 1999 for her outstanding performance in The Dreamlife of Angels can’t bring life to this utter nullity of a movie. My feeble attempts to excavate the meaning of love, life, and death out of this morgue land have obviously failed ignominiously.

Aka J’aimerais pas crever un dimanche.