the subversive sequence in Who Killed Bambi?

Qui a tué Bambi? is a sexy-thriller set in a hospital, from 2003. Very cinematic, it's not a really good movie.

The best thing in it is a throwaway sequence intended to increase the mystery surrounding one of the characters. Watching that part of the movie makes one wonder (even more) whether this man is a sociopathic murderer or just a handsome doctor lacking a wife ...

the game

Isabelle takes a sleeping pill but, for one reason or another, ends up in a nightclub before it takes effect. A bunch of people at work have set up an outing there.

At the moment of her waking, everyone else giggles and urges her to play a game. Lights are pulsing - it is all very strange. The doctor pretends to have had a dream and Isabelle has to guess it using 'Yes' or 'No' questions only. She reluctantly agrees.

She asks things like
  'Was it an erotic dream?' (he answers 'yes').
  'Was there sex?' (he answers 'no').

A dream emerges from the questions, about a man in clothes, a nude woman, starlight.

Finaly Isabelle asks if the nude woman is her. At that point everyone laughs and tells her it is all a trick! They explain to her that -whatever she asked- the mysterious doctor answered Yes if her question ended in a vowel, otherwise he answered No.
In this game French works well, as it has key optimistic words ending in vowels like Ici and oui.

As they laugh at her that such a romantic scenario emerged from herself, Isabelle quickly leaves the room.

Oh my God! It's not you, it's me!

I can't remember a better screen depiction of projection (the psycholanalytic term).1

The sequence is subversive, in the best sense of the word. Marvelously indirectly-direct. Everyone who has watched the sexy thriller has learned in the marrow of their bones what projection is, if they did not already know.

That Isabelle is the heroine, that she has been victimized (in a way) into creating this projection strenghtens this effect. This because many people who need to come to terms with their own projections feel themselves as victims. Watching poor Isabelle, they will have no problem internalizing the concept.

the screenwriter's title

Btw, the title (translated in English as 'Who Killed Bambi?') was clearly chosen for it's cleverness. It's certainly evocative and probably helped sell the movie (a good thing). But it gives a misleading impression of the plot. More accurate would have been the working title, translated in English as 'Run away, Bambi, Run away!".

added later: in 1998 a sexy thriller was released in France called "Cours, Lola, Cours" (translated from its German title: Lola Rennt, aka "Run, Lola, Run"). It is possible this clever title inspired the original screenwriter to write what he called 'Fuis, Bambi, Fuis' (different plot). Also, I guess it is possible that in 2003 when the movie came they didn't want it to sound too similar to the German movie.

They might also have discovered that in 1992 a book had been published in English called "Run Bambi, Run", and didn't want to be sued if they used the working title (fyi: "Fuis" can be translated as "Flee" or "Run Away").

  1. This is not a classic case of projection. The dream is never within Isabelle, formed as part of her.