Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

La mort se mérite
Un film de Nicolas Drolc
– 2017 – 90 minutes
French with English subtitles

La Mort se Mérite brosse le portrait de Serge Livrozet, figure de la contre-culture française des années 70, ancien plombier, ancien perceur de coffres forts, fondateur avec Michel Foucault du Comité d’Action des Prisonniers, écrivain autodidacte et militant libertaire. Devant la caméra intimiste de Nicolas Drolc, cet ” anarchiste qui n’aime pas les bombes ” se laisse dresser le portrait en n’étant tendre ni avec lui-même, ni avec la vie et les plaisirs qu’il y recherche pour ” rendre ce séjour merdique le moins désagréable possible “.


Death Must Be Earned is the intimate portrait of Serge Livrozet, former safe-cracker, one of the protagonists of 1970s French counter-culture, alongside Michel Foucault founder of the Committee of Prisoner’s Action, self-taught writer and anarchist activist. The film portraits him at age 75 in his hometown of Nice where he revisits the pivotal episodes of his life of social struggle and political activism.

Reviews and promotion

les Inrocks,
Le Canard Enchainé,
les Cahiers du cinéma,
France Culture,
France Inter

Paris LA review:

Extracts from reviews (some translated into English)

“People should come to this film not just looking for a documentary about resistance against the prison system, Michel Foucault’s comrade and so on. The reflection is existential and even existentialist. These digressions not only transmit a protester’s experience, but also a strong will to live. Death must be earned flips the finger to the bourgeoisie and capitalist society. Despite the cold sweat of fear, it flips the same finger to death itself. Because until the end Livrozet will carry on his revolt. Nicolas Drolc has made an exhilarating documentary here.
Anne MATHIEU Le Monde Diplomatique

“The film resembles a late Twin Peaks Episode featuring Harry Dean Stanton alone playing the old anarchist Don Quixote but this is not just because of the use of black & white and the electronic soundtrack that soaks the film and gives it the sci-fi / post-punk aesthetic it’s seeking. But it is rather because, beyond the efficiency of the film’s style, the tenderness of the filmmaker’s eyes, and the political value of it’s story, it is the film of another experience and another scheme of thoughts – those which go with old age, shown here (with an equal honesty from the filmmaker and the protagonist) as a highly humorous revolt against death, the ultimate and most intolerable authority yet to be defy.
Luc CHESSEL. Libération

“Until the very end Livrozet will have fought capitalism and everything that goes with it – its inequalities, injustice, competition, careerism, submission… At a time where the term “insubordinate” has become a trademark, this films portrays a true rebel who will have smoked his life away like he smokes his cigars – at full speed, with style and spirit.”
Serge KAGANSKI. Les Inrockuptibles

Ostensibly a narrative of French prison revolts in the early 1970’s, Sur les toits is, perhaps more fundamentally, an exploration of the human spirit in moments of political resistance. Interviewing prisoners, guards, lawyers, and activists involved in the revolts, Drolc deftly dramatizes their struggle against the injustices of prison conditions, as well as the judicial system at large. The film is a raw testament to the brazen refusal of domination and the power of collective action.
Perry Zurn – Assistant Professor of Philosophy – Hampshire College – Amherst (USA) June 2015

The eyes through which Nicolas Drolc sees Serge Livrozet and the eyes through which he invites us to see him are stripped of both othering and compassion. But Nicolas is showing us no circus attraction, but rather a human-being whom he invites us to love alongside him. There is no room for fooling around with useless gimmicks. The portrait he paints is raw and without fanfare or indulgence, steeped in a subjectivity he owns entirely. It is precisely in this rigorous ruggedness that Death must be earned found a unity, a strength and an offbeat poetry.
Jean-Pierre BOUYXOU – Paris – February 2017

Categories: Film

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