#143 – Oeil Intérieur de L’Esprit, L’ (Eye Inside the Mind, The)

(1983, Fr, 101 min) Dir Roland Sacher. Cast Alain Delon, Philippe Léotard, Claude Jade.

Based on his controversial memoir, L’Oeil Intérieur de L’Esprit tells the story of Paul Dumas, an ex-soldier who claimed to work for the French Army as part of a psychic cell in North Africa and French Indochina, a little like The Men Who Stare at Goats but even less funny. The film begins in 1970 and Dumas is working as a vegetable delivery man with no recollection of his top-secret army service. An accident when he’s unloading his truck causes a knock on the head from a crate of cabbages and suddenly it all comes back. His wife Anne (Jade) doesn’t know what to do but call his old army buddy Pip (Léotard) who talks him through his memories of pinpointing terrorist cells with the power of his mind and prognosticating enemy attacks. At this point the film departs from Dumas’ book, dramatizing the process of writing the book itself and his disastrous television appearances to publicise it, including his infamous appearance on TV ’73 with Serge Gainsbourg who mocked him, saying “If you’re such a good psychic then why did we lose both wars you fought in?” The film tries to have its cake and eat it too – it obviously doubts Dumas’ story but still insists on framing him by the end as some sort of hero. The effects at youngifying Delon for the flashbacks are distractingly bad too. Sacher’s first film after the debacle of The Pass to Heaven’s Arms, it would be another couple of films before he got back into his stride.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

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