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Feux Rouges

Red Lights

France 2003
produced by
Patrick Godeau, Francoise Galfré (executive) for Alicéléo, France 3, Gimages
directed by Cédric Kahn
starring Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Carole Bouquet, Vincent Deniard, Charline Paul, Jean-Pierre God
screenplay by Laurence Ferreira Barbosa, Cédric Kahn, Gilles Marchand, based on the novel by Georges Simenon

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Driving South to pick up their kids, Antoine (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) - who might have a drink or 2 too much to be in the driver's seat  - & his wife Hélene have a row ... not only about Antoine bein drunk or having taken a wrong turn, but about their relationship in general, which has gone wrong in the last few years. All culminates in Antoine stopping at a roadhouse to have yet another drink & Hélene getting out of the car to take the train for the rest of the way.

At first Antoine tries desperately to catch up with the train, but when he realises his efforts are futile, he makes a stop at another bar & gets really drunk. Leaving a bar he meets a hitchhiker (Vincent Deniard) & agrees to give him a lift. The hitchhiker soon realises the state Antoine is in & tries to keep him from drinking more - without success -, however he is determined to stay aboard.

Soon Antoine has a little accident & ruins one of his tyres ... however he's far too drunk to change it, so the hitchhiker does it for him, throws Antoine in the back & drives on ...

Lieing in the back, Antoine drunkenly tells his companion that he has long recognized him as an escaped, dangerous criminal (not too clever an idea), but that he won't give him away to the police ... Soon, the hitchhiker drives the car into some remote woods, throws Antoine out & prepares to kill him - but despite his drunkenness, Antoine still has an ace up his sleeve ... his whiskey bottle, which he breaks to (successfully) defend himslelf & cutting up the hitchhiker's face. Thinking him dead, Antoine gets into the car & wants to drive off ... when all of a sudden the hitchhiker appears right in front of his car and ...

The next morning, Antoine wakes up in his car on the side of a street he doesn't know, with one flat tyre. & after he has found a mechanic who'll fix it in a village he has never heard of, he tries to contact his wife ... to learn she has never arrived at tthe kids' holiday camp, nor at the hotel they have booked, nor at the town the camp is in at all ... after a gazillion phonecalls he learns that she was mugged as soon as her train left the station, & now lies in some hospital. After endless investigations, Antone does find out her whereabouts & goes to pick her up. But at the hospital, the inspector (Jean-Pierre God) tells him that she was not only ,ugged but also raped, by an escaped dangerous criminal (who of course turns out to be the hitchhiker who hitched a ride with Antoine - but Antoine won't tell the inspecor that). However, the assailant (the hitchhiker) was found in the woods somewhere, dead from being repeatedly run over by some car ...

It's only than that Antoine realises that by provoking that little row in the car he had almost destroyed not only his & Hélene's marriage ... but them both in general ...


Nice thriller that profits less from an original plot (which it hasn't) but from a wicked way of stroytelling: it seems as if the story would unfold itself long before the events actually happen, only to every now & again take a turn in a totally different direction - it even goes so far as to eventually make the audience doubt that some of the events depicted (the whole hitchhiker subplot) have actually happened.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD