4 June 2008

La Fin Absolue du Monde

Filed under: First Lines, Movies — ktismatics @ 11:06 am

Film is magic and, in the right hands, a weapon.

The other day, at Dejan’s behest, I watched an episode of the TV series “Masters of Horror” directed by John Carpenter. Entitled “Cigarette Burns,” the episode focuses on the quest for a long-lost film that allegedly induces profoundly disturbing, perhaps even fatal effects in anyone who views it. The whole episode can be seen in six YouTube installments, the first of which is HERE. [UPDATE 27 May 11 — The entirety of Cigarette Burns can now be seen HERE.]

The setup would make a good assignment for screenwriters or short story writers…

* * *

The butler ushers Mr. Sweetman into the office of Mr. Ballinger. After some small talk Sweetman contemplates a movie poster hanging on the wall and says to Ballinger: La Fin Absolue du Monde. The Absolute End of the World.”

“What do you know about it?”

“I know it played once: opening night premiere of the Festival International du Cinema Fantastique de Sitges. Violence erupted in the theater. When Hans Backovic the director tried to get the film out of the country, the government seized it and destroyed it, not realizing it was a work in progress and his only print. He quit the business, and the film’s only been seen by that one audience.”

“You’ve done your homework, but the government didn’t destroy the film.”

Sweetman observes another wall decoration. “What’s this?”

“A prop from the film. I’m a bit obsessive about La Fin Absolue du Monde. I have a collection of over eight thousand films, The most extreme images, created by some of the most obscure filmmakers from around the world. I’m not about to drag you up here in the middle of the night for something that made a school girl dizzy. I’m talking about real power.”

“Were you at the festival when this played?”

“Yes. I even had tickets for the screening, but I’d seen Backovic’s previous work and I wasn’t impressed, so I went to see the first Dr. Phibes instead, hoping to meet Vincent Price. In ’83, the Rotterdam Festival announced a screening. By the time I’d flown there they had cancelled it, saying it was an error. The fact that the venue burned down must have had something to do with it.” Ballinger opens a desk drawer and pulls out an old file filled with papers. He hands it to Sweetman. “Every mention of the film since ’71, every rumor about underground screenings, the official report from Citges. Mr. Sweetman.”

“Why are you giving me this?”

“Isn’t it obvious? I want you to find the print for me.”

“Finding a rare print can be costly, even under the best circumstances. La Fin Absolue du Monde is… it’s infamous, it’s rarer than rare. If there was a print of that out there I’d know it.”

“It is out there, believe me. My sources are unimpeachable.”

* * *

You can readily track down the other 5 installments of Carpenter’s version of this story, but here’s how I think it should turn out: Sweetman finds the film but is afraid to watch it himself. He brings it back to Ballinger. Ballinger watches it: nothing, no impact. He’s stunned, crestfallen, outraged, desperate. This isn’t La Fin Absolue Du Monde, Ballinger declares. But, Sweetman protests, I’ve been assured by the director’s wife, the projectionist at the ’71 showing, a reviewer from that showing — this is the one. No, insists Ballinger: it’s a replacement, perhaps a remake, even a copy, but it isn’t the real La Fin Absolue Du Monde. You must continue searching, Mr. Sweetman, I’ll pay anything you ask, anything…


  1. hey bru,

    so, i don’t really have a comment (yet another thing i haven’t seen), but i figured I’d say hi. later brother, and keep well


    Comment by dionysusstoned — 4 June 2008 @ 1:38 pm

  2. hey
    ive been curious if the film La Fin Absolue du Monde from Cigarette Burns is actually real…or if it ever did exist?

    I’ve searched it but its only referenced alongside Cig Burns, never by itself as a movie..


    Comment by jess — 17 June 2008 @ 5:07 pm

  3. It is out there, Jess, believe me. My sources are unimpeachable.


    Comment by ktismatics — 18 June 2008 @ 2:42 am

  4. do you know where to find it need to watch it just need to…


    Comment by gast — 22 July 2008 @ 5:53 pm

  5. The strang thing about death is its so strang but so normal if you thing to much about it, it might drive you to the grave… Fuck


    Comment by gast — 22 July 2008 @ 8:32 pm

  6. I updated the link to the first installment of Cigarette Burns, but the authorities continually come along behind me and destroy the links. Some day soon this film too shall disappear from the world.


    Comment by ktismatics — 27 July 2008 @ 10:59 am

  7. I don’t know. I felt Carpenter’s version just… perfect. His best job (and story) in many years.


    Comment by KalEl el Vigilante — 7 August 2008 @ 12:55 pm

  8. I’ve toyed with a few other alternatives, KalEl, but since you think this one is perfect I won’t trouble you with them (unless you insist, of course). It seems like a good exercise for screenwriters in training: write a story about someone who’s been hired to find and bring back the legendary film Le Fin Absolue du Monde. No further information is provided; e.g., the de-winged angel isn’t part of the setup.


    Comment by ktismatics — 7 August 2008 @ 1:30 pm

  9. hmm im not sure about anything right now. i have found bits of the film all around but nothing “big” wet i know now that its a real film and i nedd to find it…


    Comment by persika — 1 February 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  10. Sadly, it seems that YouTube has taken down the Cigarette Burns videos that used to be posted. Maybe some brave soul will try again. Or maybe Carpenter’s film never existed…


    Comment by ktismatics — 1 February 2009 @ 8:19 pm

  11. I have found it! It is on Amazon, but I do not know if it is the real version.



    Comment by Jordan — 17 March 2009 @ 9:43 am

  12. That’s looks like the real thing, Jason, though of course I’m always looking for freebies. It looks like I could download it through Vuze, my bit-torrent provider of choice, though of course there’s no guarantee of quality.


    Comment by john doyle — 17 March 2009 @ 9:56 am

    • You tube La fin absolue du monde… Be Careful.


      Comment by Marcel Lojet — 5 January 2010 @ 9:12 pm

  13. Pourquois, Marcel? La “link” ancienne ne marche plus, mais j’ai trouvé une autre. Essayez-la encore, sil vous plait… mais attention, hain? La link est ici maintenant.


    Comment by john doyle — 5 January 2010 @ 10:26 pm

  14. Here you go… For anybody who comes across this board looking for LA FIN ABSOLUE DU MONDE



    Comment by Marcel Lojet — 10 August 2010 @ 9:38 pm

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