It's also called "No Funeral on Sunday" and "One Does not Bury on Sunday".
The cinematography delighted me. The angles and compositions are novel and lovely, as much as the dark/light contrasts.
The music score features Eric Dixon on flute, a Count Basie orchestra mainstay for many years and at that time on tenor sax and as composer and arranger. The drummer is the very famous innovative bop drummer, Kenny Clarke. Their music creates a quiet jazz mood at critical times when there may be no dialog. Clarke appears on screen or plays in some other French movies of this time. One is "Un témoin dans la ville" (1959). Another is "Elevator to the Gallows". He's onscreen in "Le glaive et la balance". "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" He performs in "Bird" (1988). Nicknamed "Klook": "a combination of a rimshot on the snare followed directly by a 'bomb', reportedly inspired Clarke's nickname, 'Klook', which was short for 'Klook-mop', in imitation of the sound this combination produced."
The story has many ironies. It uses narration carefully and effectively. It has an admirable grasp of psychology and brings the facets of character psychology out nicely on the screen. There is almost no outright violence shown. The inroads people make on one another and themselves are strongly present and brought out deftly.
The movie is as much as anything about the psychology of its main character, a West Indian guy, who is unsure of himself in several departments. He's depicted as a moral guy and naive. But through his experiences with a Swedish girl and a literary agent and his wife, the movie brings out their moral characters. And we feel that he has entered a corrupt world in order to make a living as a writer. He has his eyes open, but a combination of his position at the fringe of society, his natural ambition, and his weakness lead him to enter this world. As the consequences unfold, he sees what liars and hypocrites some people can be. But not all. Perhaps the most honest character is the agent's wife. Her interest is in seducing our hero, but she doesn't trick him.
There are one or two points that I haven't gotten straight in my mind. One is that he half-heartedly tries to hang himself. It's almost comic. It does show he thinks so very little of his life, but it also shows his weakness in that he doesn't really do it effectively. Another little mystery to me revolves around a lie that the Swedish girl tells him. He finds out or should have figured it out. Yet it's dropped, and there seems to be a reconciliation suggested between them.
Don't expect a bunch of great actors in this one. Don't expect charisma oozing off the screen. Philippe Mory took on a challenging role here, playing a character that doesn't really attract sympathy. The screenplay didn't offer those little devices that are sometimes used to make characters sympathetic. The chemistry between Mory and both the Swedish girl and the agent's wife was very light, and that's partly owing to what the script called for.
But in the end, Mory, in his own quiet way, managed to carry the film. He did it with close-ups of his eyes and face that brought out his isolation, his disillusion, his disappointment, and his distaste for life's emptiness. Christina Bendz was colorless. Albert Gilou had a little pizazz. He and Bendz did only this one film. Hella Petri was in her first film here; she showed some charisma and she went on to make 27 more film credits.