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The Fire That Burns (La Ville Dont le Prince Est un Enfant)
The Fire That Burns
La Ville Dont le Prince Est un Enfant
Actors: Michel Aumont, Luc Denoux, Michel Dussauze, Alain Gilbert, Pierre-Alexis Hollenbeck
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Gay & Lesbian
UR     2004     1hr 31min

A richly textured drama based on the novel "The Land Whose King is a Child" (referring to Ecclesiastes 10:6 "Woe to the land whose king is a child) by prolific, French novelist and dramatist Henry de Montherlant. Whose kin...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Michel Aumont, Luc Denoux, Michel Dussauze, Alain Gilbert, Pierre-Alexis Hollenbeck
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Gay & Lesbian
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Religion, Religion & Spirituality, Gay & Lesbian
Studio: Picture This Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/21/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

What is Love?
Michael Grainge | Douglas, Az | 11/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ah, les Francais! Only they could make such a sensitive film about the love between two boys, and without sex, nudity or (believe it or not) profanity!
This is a real romance in the noblest sense. It never descends to lesser things than a pure expression of human affection and its relationship to the sacred - the theme of the movie.
It is Sevrais, the handsome, doe-eyed, love-smitten 15 year old played with heart-crushing feeling by Nael Marandin that energizes this film till its dark ending. His overpowering love for young Souplier transports one to a new level of experience of the profoundly transforming power of friendship, last seen in the 1963 French film 'This Special Friendship' (Les Amities Particulieres), an almost identical story.
Sevrais' love for Souplier never falters from his first scene when he is searching the school grounds for Souplier. Upon seeing him his face beams with rapture as it does later in the scene in the gym when he is transfixed by Souplier's entrance. And you feel again how hopelessly Sevrais is smitten when one night instead of going home, he stands under the choir room window in the cold darkness just to hear Souplier's voice. This is no ordinary love story!
The most moving moment occurs in the cave when Sevrais and Souplier embrace which lends power to the rest of the movie's soaring theme.
There are two tangled stories in this film. The jealous and manipulating priest, Abbot de Pradts, and his seeming fatherly affection for Souplier and enmity towards his rival Sevrais; and that between the two boys. In the long marvelously scripted final scene between de Pradts and the Father Superior, the tables are turned and the question of what is profane and what is sacred love is addressed in a powerful exchange.
As for Sevrais and Souplier - well, it couldn't end like this! (I have ordered the book in French in hopes of finding a happier ending.) Shattered, Sevrais leaves the school in shock, broken, empty, tear stained, a shadow of his former impeccable self, dying the slow death of separation from Souplier, the light of his life.
This is a gem of a film. The taboo subject of love between two boys is opened an we see that it can rise suspened between the sacred and the profane, pulling us into Sevrais' world where we can feel the power of sacrificial love. (Didn't He say: "No greater love hath man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend"?)
Five stars for this film? How about the whole Milky Way!
Vive les amities particulieres! Vive les Francais!"
A Stunning, Intelligent, Wholly Satisfying Film
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"THE FIRE THAT BURNS may seem like an odd title for this French film originally titled LE VILLE DONT LE PRINCE EST UN ENFANT ("The Land Where the King is a Child") - until the final scene. But such idiosyncrasies abound in this story set in WW II Paris and at times the blend of surrealism, nascent passion, mysticism, philosophy, and ecclesiastic order makes this film feel like visual and cerebral flights of fancy. The trip is worth it!

Abbot de Pradts (Christophe Melavoy, who also directs) is a handsome, sensitive priest in a Catholic boys school in Paris, a school whose boys live both on-campus or at home. de Pradts has taken under his wing a poor, beautiful young boy Souplier (Clement van der Bergh) whose studies suffer and who is somewhat of a behavior problem. Souplier thrives on the attention paid him by de Pradts, but is more focused on another older student Sevrais (Nael Marandin) with whom he spends time skipping classes, exploring, and actually loving: the very pure and lovely love affair between these two lads is beautifully captured by both the actors and the director. It is not long before de Pradts feels jealousy for the influence of Sevrais on Souplier, and eventually de Pradts finds a way to remove Sevrais from the school. This of course results in his demanding that Souplier forsake Sevrais and the results of this demand constitute the finale of the film best saved for the viewer to discover.

Though the suggestion of de Pradts' physical attraction to Souplier is sub rosa, the head of the school Father Superior (Michel Aumont) observes the dynamics and in a visceral confrontation between the two priests probes the meaning of sacred vs. profane love. The sublime intelligence of this duet is some of the best writing ever for film on this difficult subject and both Malavoy and Aumont give performances of great power and depth.

"The Fire That Burns" is that passion within the soul that can lead to evil if not sublimated. de Pradts has fallen victim to that fire and allowed 'the child to be the king of his land'. This is a powerful movie, graced with stunning sets and photography, and a score that is based on Gounod's music ('Kyrie eleison') throughout. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 2004"
Captivating from the start...
Suree Snyder | Recluse, Hermosa Beach | 10/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Frenchies pulled this movie off fantastically! This is about two French boys studying in a Catholic School, who are in love with each other. Im smittened by how the story adds so much character of wholeness, innocence, and bitter sweet love into these two boys (one about 15, the other about 10) to the point I didnt cringe at seeing them kiss. And I also rooted for their love.

But alas, love so divine will be asundered, by the Abbot. And he is bent on throwing the older boy out of the picture, out the school. Under the pretense and (his unbelievable) denial, he claims his motives for the younger boy is out of altruism. No, here's the twisted part, he is lusting after the boy. Eeeew.

When the Abbot rids of the older boy, he is smug as a pug. But only for the Superior to pull a fast one on him. This movie goes beyond 88 minutes, as the box says. The last 15 minutes is a didactic conversation between the Abbot and the Superior. Therein lies the moral.

I really wanted this movie to have a happily-ever-after-end, or my definition of it.

This movie reminds me of "My Life as a Dog". Yes, the Sverige version.

Enjoy the flavour of this movie.

Rolando A. Perez | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film is about a French play set around the late 30's in all boys Catholic school. It deals basically with what I think three levels of love: the innocent love between two very young boys, the fatherly love of one of the school priest for the youngest boy, and the love of God between that priest and his superior.

This is a very sophisticated, intellectual, philosophical story with superb acting very much model to what would be a theater drama play. Even though there are hints of the love between the boys to be of a homosexual nature, I am just not sure that boys that young are capable of understanding the whole concept of love.

The story revolves around three main characters: Sevrais, the oldest boy, Souplier, the youngest kid, and L'Abbe de Pradts, the priest. Sevrais is in love with Souplier. Souplier reciprocates to a certain extent as there is a brief kissing scene between the two of them. But he stills acts like the spoiled brat, where he takes the attitude, I take it or leave it. On the other hand Sevrais is the more matured lover. L'Abbe de Pradts has taken a primary interest to look after Souplier, crossing some boundaries between being a teacher and his student. Even though to me the priest comes out as rather spooky and to forthcoming in his relationship with Souplier, I think the plays intention is just merely to demonstrate a level of love, the fatherly love of this man for a misguided, and troubled boy.

Sevrais and Souplier are caught in the school storeroom by the Abbe, causing Sevrais to be expelled. There is a tender scene between the boys which you find in couples very much in love. The Abbe relish Sevrais' misery because there may be some type of jealousy in which he can not stand anyone coming between him and Souplier.

Father Superior, the other character, stays behind the scenes pretty much the entire movie, watching the Abbe and his interaction with the two boys. He realizes that there is more than meets the eye, and puts an end to all of this, by expelling the other boy, Souplier. The destruction of the Abbe toward Sevrais is pretty much done in reverse by the Superior vanishing his love.

There is a final confrontation between the Abbe and Father Superior, in which there is a very metaphysical and philosophical discussion of God's love and humans.

This is a heavy duty, strong movie. The actors are all good. If you like movies with a very intellectual theme, this story is for you. There are a couple of interviews on the special features with a much older Sevrais (still very handsome) plus Father Superior."