To love and death

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title To love and death
Original title Vivement dimanche!
Country of production France
original language French
Publishing year 1983
length 111 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director François Truffaut
script Jean Aurel ,
Suzanne Schiffman ,
François Truffaut
production Armand Barbault ,
François Truffaut
music Georges Delerue
camera Néstor Almendros
cut Martine Barraqué

Auf Liebe und Tod (Original title: Vivement dimanche! ) Is a French crime film with Fanny Ardant and Jean-Louis Trintignant from 1983 and also the last feature film by the French director François Truffaut . The film was based on the novel The Long Saturday Night by Charles Williams .


The businessman Jacques Massoulier is shot while hunting ducks. Real estate agent Julien Vercel is suspected of being a murderer because he is the only one who uses the caliber of the murder weapon. A motive for the crime is quickly found, because Massoulier was the lover of Vercel's wife Marie-Christine. A short time later she was also found shot dead. Since Vercel has no alibi for both murders , he takes Maître Clément as a lawyer, who, however, does not believe his pledges of innocence any more than the police. Clément therefore wants to plead passionate crime with the motif . French law uses the term crime passionnel for this and Vercel would have a good chance of mitigating the sentence in court. Only his secretary Barbara Becker, who is secretly in love with him, is convinced of Vercel's innocence. She hides him in the basement of his office and investigates on her own.

Barbara Becker finds out that Marie-Christine did not run a beauty salon as expected before her marriage, but earned her money in a nightclub, L'Ange rouge , in Nice . In addition, a private detective had been on Marie-Christine for a while . During her investigation, Barbara repeatedly encounters a mysterious man whom she and Vercel soon believe to be the real killer. But at the funeral of Massoulier it turns out that the man is a priest and the brother of the deceased, who also wanted to solve the murder case.

New tracks now lead to a cinema called Eden , where a former lover of Massoulier works as a cashier. There are signs of connections to the red light district , which is why Barbara decides to disguise herself as a prostitute in order to find out details. But the more she learns, the more people involved die: first the owner of the nightclub, then the cashier of the cinema. When Barbara returns to the office, Vercel intends to get out of town. However, she does not want to let her boss go and finally confesses her love to him. After they get closer, Barbara still seems to have doubts about the innocence of her boss and so she delivers him to the police with the help of a ruse. But this maneuver turns out to be part of a clever plan to get the real killer to unmask himself: It is Vercel's lawyer Clément, in whose office Barbara previously found a secret chamber with evidence that Clément was the jealous lover of Marie- Unmask Christine. When Clément realizes that he has been convicted, he takes his own life. Thereupon Vercel and the visibly pregnant Barbara step in front of the altar together.


After The Woman Next Door (1981), On Love and Death was the second joint film by François Truffaut and his last muse and partner Fanny Ardant . The idea for this film came up while looking through samples for The Woman Next Door . Fanny Ardant in a trench coat reminded Truffaut of the black series and so the director looked for a material with a strong female figure. He found him in the novel The Long Saturday Night by the American writer Charles Williams. The novel is part of the Série noire , a book series by the French Gallimard publishing house, from which Truffaut filmed a total of five crime novels.

On Love and Death , von Truffaut then deliberately staged it in black and white as an homage to Hollywood's films noirs of the 1940s. He reversed the basic pattern of the Black Series in that the supposedly subordinate woman takes on the role of the detective, while the man remains helpless and incapable of acting. Truffaut also pays tribute to his role models Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick with film motifs . The woman - in this case the secretary Barbara Becker - who is in love with the suspect and therefore helps him, can be found in both Hitchcock's I fight for you (1945) and The Invisible Third (1959). The scene in which Vercel secretly enters the apartment of the cashier Paula Delbecq and threatens to be caught, refers to Hitchcock's The Window to the Courtyard (1954). Another film quote can be found in the murder of Paula Delbecq as an allusion to Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972), when the victim is lured into a cinema with an arm wave and is murdered behind a closed door while Kubrick's war film Ways to Fame (1957) is in Cinema is running. The shots in the film describe the act of violence behind the door.

Truffaut also quotes himself. Like Julien Vercel, Lucas Steiner also has to hide in a cellar in The Last Metro (1980). Beautiful female legs, as Vercel observes with fascination through the cellar window, have become the doom of Bertrand Morane in Truffaut's The Man Who Loved Women (1977).

The film was Truffaut's last work. He died of a brain tumor in 1984 at the age of 52.


For the lexicon of international films , Auf Liebe und Tod was “a charming, enigmatic crime comedy in the often self-deprecating style” of the film noir. It is "staged at high speed and photographed in stylish black and white" and ultimately offers "[p] great cinema entertainment". Prisma described the film as “a nifty crime comedy shot in black and white” and “homage to classic film noir”, in which “[w] he already in The Woman Next Door [...] Fanny Ardant in the role of the mysterious heroine “Shine. The result was "[e] in film fun between crime, comedy and parody".


Auf Liebe und Tod received two nominations for the César in the categories of Best Actress (Fanny Ardant) and Best Director (François Truffaut) and was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film . The jury of the German Film and Media Evaluation awarded the film the title “Particularly valuable”. In their justification it says among other things:

“The plot is exciting, if not always transparent, it is full of surprises. Wit and lightly placed humorous and erotic spots not only characterize the dialogue, but can also be found in many image sequences. The milieu and actors are drawn to parody with irony and a moderate amount of pleasure. [...] The use of black and white film gives the whole thing its special atmosphere. "

- German film and media rating


role actor Voice actor
Barbara Becker Fanny Ardant Gisela Fritsch
Julien Vercel Jean-Louis Trintignant Fred Maire
Maître Clément Philippe Laudenbach Randolf Kronberg
Commissioner Santelli Philippe Morier-Genoud Helmo Kindermann
Laughing pool George Coulouris Wolfgang Hess


  • Charles Williams: The Long Saturday Night . Gold Medal, 1962 (English edition).

DVD release

  • François Truffaut Collection 3: To love and death / A beautiful girl like me . Concorde Video 2007.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Peter W. Jansen : The man who loved legs . In: Die Zeit , January 27, 1984.
  2. Nils Formann: The European Neo Film noir: 4. On love and death ., January 3, 2011, accessed on May 12, 2013.
  3. ^ Pascale Frey, Christine Ferniot: François Truffaut . In: L'Express , July 1, 2001, accessed May 12, 2013.
  4. To love and death. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  5. cf.
  6. cf. fbw-filmb
  7. To love and death. In: German dubbing index , accessed on August 1, 2018 .