“Bruno Reidal”, “Memories of Murder”, “Seven”… cinematographic journey to the end of Evil


Fiery and stripped back, “Bruno Reidal”, Vincent Le Port’s film about the confessions of a young seminarian who murders a child questions the impulse to kill. Five other films take us into the quicksand of criminal psychology.

Generally, cinema reserves the death drive for adults. the audacity of Bruno Reidal, First feature film by Vincent Le Port: proving that he has existed since childhood… La 1is September 1905, Bruno Reidal, a 17-year-old teenager, also a seminarian, is arrested (but it is he who turns himself in to the police) for the murder of a child… To understand the reasons -but how could we? –, A famous criminologist of the time asks him to tell his story. Written…

We remember – movie buffs, at least – another young criminal, whose diary, written in 1835 and rediscovered, more than a century later, by the philosopher Michel Foucault, had inspired Rene Allio one of his greatest achievements : I, Pierre Rivière, having sacrificed my mother, my sister and my brother (1976). Differentiating himself from him was one of Vincent Le Port’s greatest concerns: “What’s the use of making another Pierre Riviere, while the former is just as successful. And then, researching, starting to write, I understood that the films would be as different from each other as Bruno is different from Pierre. »

In fact, Pierre Rivière, in René Allio, even if he doesn’t know it, is a political assassin. Social. Societal. Vincent Le Port’s Bruno Reidal is carnal and spiritual. And under the fiery and refined staging of the young filmmaker, he becomes Robert Bresson’s hero. Faith and sex burn him. And it is his obsession with his mediocrity in the face of the radiant beauty of other humans, certain children in particular, that he must obliterate through murder. Evil walks within him, which he tries to keep at bay, until it overwhelms him…

How has cinema represented Evil? A brief review, with some notorious films…

The Boston Strangler by Richard Fleischer (1968)

“The Boston Strangler” by Richard Fleischer (1968). Behind the murderer of women, an ordinary American.

20th Century Fox

Faced with this murderer of women, first old, then much younger, all the police forces think of a sexually obsessed repeat offender: they therefore go through the slums of Boston in the 1960s and, to quickly enter the deployment of the big city perversions Richard Fleischer uses -intelligently, unlike so many others- the split screen : The split screen.

But no… the murderer (Albert DeSalvo really existed) turns out to be an American like the others: a bad husband, perhaps, but an exemplary family man. To arouse, if not sympathy, at least identification, the director chooses to embody the ideal son-in-law, the handsome boy par excellence: Tony Curtis… The only obstacle: the murderer refuses to admit his crimes. It will therefore be a question, for the lawyer appointed by the government (henry fonda), to make him aware, through psychoanalysis, of the evil that is hidden in him. But Richard Fleischer’s thesis is obvious: crime can be born in each one of us.

“American Psycho” by Mary Harron (2000)

“American Psycho” by Mary Harron (2000). The Narcissus of serial killers (Christian Bale).

muse productions

at[person]’s house Brett Easton Ellis, the serial killer, unlike Albert DeSalvo, claims responsibility for his crimes. Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) kills homeless people and women (unless he fantasizes about all these murders…), to prove to himself that he is super rich, super handsome and super manly, like the yuppie generation of the 80s: the Reagan Babies. But when, at the limit of his strength, he confesses to this series of bloody massacres, nobody believes him, not even his lawyer who, moreover, continues to confuse him with other clients. Because, he suddenly realizes, the one who thinks he is unique is interchangeable…

In this macabre fantasy (successively underrated, then overrated), the director mocks this idiot, obsessed with his smoothing creams, his business cards and his reservations at fancy restaurants: “How can you shake my hand and I yours, she makes him say, you might think we are the same. But no. I’m just a shadow, an illusion. I’m just not here…”

“Seven”, by David Fincher (1995)

“Seven”, by David Fincher (1995). Kevin Spacey, as an evil vigilante.

new line cinema

Patrick Bateman was showing off. The “John Doe” (Mr. X) of Seven, who intends, precisely, to exterminate all Patrick Bateman of this misguided world, hides. We will only see him for about ten minutes (under the guise of kevin spacey), but his presence hangs over this dark and rainy city (except during the denouement) where, as a biblical vigilante, he recreates, through his abominable murders, the seven deadly sins.

Eradicate evil with evil: “When you want people to listen to you”, this John Doe, you have to go with a hammer: that’s the only way to get their attention. » An increasingly current theory, alas!… By way of response –and philosophy– the disillusioned old policeman, played by Morgan Freemancan only object to this observation taken from Ernest Hemingway: “The world is a beautiful place worth fighting for: I agree with the second part of the sentence…”

“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (2011)

“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (2011).


There is a murderer, but he is not an American-style avenger. And his victim has disappeared… In this epic film, which is also intimate, moral, spiritual, a policeman, a doctor, a prosecutor -delighted that we take him for a movie star- search for a corpse whose whereabouts are unknown. is known. one knows it, not even the one who killed him.

All landscapes are the same in Anatolia, flat and infinite. And when it is found, nothing is resolved, since evil, for Nuri Bilge Ceylon, is diffuse and ubiquitous. It can only be overcome – and it is a magical moment – by the appearance of a young woman who seems, suddenly, to circulate grace, in the fullest sense of the word, among these aimless men. To the point that the killer himself burst into tears…

“Memories of a Murder” by Bong Joon-ho (2003)

“Memoirs of a Murder”, by Bong Joon-ho (2003). The murderer who slips through the fingers of justice has soft hands.

CJ Entertainment: Sidus Photos

In everyone from Richard Fleischer to Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the monster finally shows up. We see it. We pity it. We fear it. Not in Bong Joon Ho. The murders multiply in this small South Korean town of the 80s, without the murderer leaving the slightest trace. No idea. Not a witness, except a frightened survivor who only remembers one detail: the man had soft hands…

The situation drives the brutal rural policeman (Song Kan-ho) and his more “civilized” colleague from Seoul (Kim Sang-kyeong) crazy: all their suspects confess, but they are never the good guys… How to win an invisible, invincible evil , without sense? For the record, Hwaseong’s killer will be identified, almost by chance, in October 2019. He will confess to all ten murders reported by Bong Joon-ho, plus a few others we didn’t suspect…

To have
r Bruno Riedal, by Vincent LePort. On cinemas.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *