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Film / I Stand Alone

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"La mort n'ouvre aucune porte." ("Death opens no door.")

I Stand Alone (French: Seul contre tous; "Alone against everything") is a French 1998 drama film by Gaspar Noé. The film focuses on several pivotal days in an unnamed former butcher's life as he rages against everyone and everything. The narrative is a direct continuation of the short film Carne, in which the Butcher tries to raise his autistic daughter and run his meat shop after his wife left him. When she reaches her teenage years, he resists trying to have sex with her. On the day of her first period, the Butcher mistakes this as rape and stabs a man he believes to be the attacker. He ends up in jail and is forced to sell his meat shop. I Stand Alone uses this as backstory and continues forward from there. Needless to say, It gets worse. Much worse.


This film provides examples of:

  • Abuse Mistake: The Butcher plunges a knife into the guy who just happened to meet up with his daughter right after she had her first period. He mistook the blood in her crotch area for rape. The incident costs the Butcher a job later in the film.
  • Asshole Victim: The butcher's jerkass mistress had it coming when the butcher beats her up.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Butcher's life story is told by the Butcher directly to the audience.
  • The Butcher: The Butcher, though he really did work as one.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: The Butcher's mistress promises to use the money from selling her bar to set up a meat market in a new town with the Butcher. Once they've moved, she recants and forces him to work.
  • Country Matters: The Butcher.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The Butcher.
    "Shit sausage. Shit wine. Shit family in a fuckshit hole. Look at you now, Butcher."
    • He even manages to drop the N-F-Bomb against a bar patron for looking at him the wrong way.
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  • The Cynic: The Butcher in spades. After seeing the woman dies, he delivers a six-minute monologue about how life is empty, everything done in life means nothing and reproductive urges are the only thing worthwhile.
  • Death Is Such an Odd Thing: The first death that the Butcher ever saw was the old woman's death in the retirement home. He is very unsure of how to process it.
    "She [the nurse] seems all upset. Yet there's nothing to get all mushy over."
  • Dirty Old Man: Despite hating women entirely, he still loves the young and pretty ones.
  • Domestic Abuse: The Butcher beats the shit out of his mistress when she kicks him out and accuses him of being a homosexual ready to turn her to-be-born child gay.
  • Establishing Character Moment: If stabbing a man in the face after assuming the guy raped his daughter isn't enough, punching his wife's stomach until the baby is aborted will do it.
  • Euroshlock
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Implied by the ward in the retirement home.
  • Fade to White: When the old woman in the nursing home dies.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: The Butcher makes dismissive remarks about women, homosexuals, the rich and French people in general.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: The Butcher. He even monologues about how much he hates women, calling them weak and "poor creatures" with penis envy.
  • Heroic BSoD: The Butcher finally has one after considering a murder-suicide with his daughter. He comes out of it by fondling his daughter.
  • Imagine Spot: The Butcher narrates in his head how he is going to kill the manager of a slaughterhouse he once worked with and then himself, fetishizing every shot fired.
    • He later imagines fondling his daughter, then killing her in a murder-suicide. This imagine spot even has its own blipvert imagine spot when he hesitates to kill himself.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: The Butcher kills his unborn child when he attacks his wife.
  • Informed Flaw: The Butcher's daughter is mentioned to be autistic, but she really seems lethargic and indifferent when she finally appears on screen.
  • Inner Monologue: Nearly all of the film's dialogue comes from the Butcher's thoughts.
  • It's Up to You: Everyone the Butcher knows in Paris is unable to help him with his financial woes.
  • Leave the Camera Running: The final shot leaves the hotel window where the Butcher is fondling his daughter and focuses on a road for a bit.
  • Men Can't Keep House: The Butcher can't keep a job for long and regards housework as a woman's job.
  • No Name Given : The Butcher remains nameless throughout this film, just like in Carne.
  • Parental Abandonment: The Butcher's mother leaves him when he is four. The Butcher's wife leaves him with his daughter right after she gave birth, since she only wanted a son.
  • Parental Incest: In the end, the Butcher resolves to have children with his daughter.
  • Pedophile Priest: The Butcher is sexually assaulted by a priest at the age of six.
  • Pervert Dad: The Butcher really tries to resist having sex with his daughter.
  • Photo Montage: After the opening scene, the Butcher's entire past (and the events of Carne) is shown through a very detailed set of stills.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have a Nuke!: The Butcher showing off his gun as his "justice":
    "Whether you're right or whether you're wrong… same difference, friend."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Butcher is convinced that his mistress believes this.
    "Besides, I want [to buy this meat.] It's my money, I'm pregnant and I fuck you."
  • Self-Deprecation: A meta example:
    "It [the story] starts off in France, shithole of cheese and Nazi lovers."
  • Smash Cut: Used relentlessly throughout the film, complete with a crashing noise, without any provocation. They start going up when the Butcher gets angry.
  • Snicket Warning Label: The climax of the film is preceded by a full screen warning card, stating, "YOU HAVE 30 SECONDS TO LEAVE THE SCREENING OF THIS FILM," accompanied by a countdown. The last five seconds flash the word "DANGER" with a klaxon to let the audience know it's serious.
  • Title Card: A few appear in the film, featuring a line of dialogue that has just been spoken.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: The Butcher eventually convinces himself that it's up to him to deliver justice upon all who wrong him and that it will make his life better.


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