Paul (Sami Bouajila of The Adventures of Felix and The Siege) is a smart, well-educated Frenchman of Arab ancestry. He's a smooth talker, but he can't seem to get a job worthy of his skills. He ends up living in a single room, struggling to get by while going on many fruitless job interviews, during which he impresses his potential employers by turning his pizza delivery job into a tall tale about revamping the whole pizza chain. But at some point, they always seem to "see through him." He retreats into the boxing ring. His brother, Daniel (Jalil Lespert of Human Resources) also has trouble finding his place in the world. He spends all his time bodybuilding and takes dangerous drugs to enhance his physique. He dreams of being the next Schwarzenegger, but is forced to settle for a demeaning job at a sex club. Eventually, Paul meets and falls for Myriam (Sylvie Testud), a pretty grad student writing her doctoral thesis on Romantic Literature. While they share a love of books (Paul's favorite is Moby Dick), Paul senses a barrier between them. She encourages him to write, but he doesn't believe he can. He explains that he started a novel once when he was young. He only wrote three words -- "Vivre me tue" (Life kills me) -- and could go no further. That, he surmises, is all he has to say. Life Kills Me is based on Paul Smail's autobiographical first novel. The film was directed by Jean-Pierre Sinapi from a script by Sinapi and his longtime writing partner Daniel Tonachella. The film was shown at Lincoln Center in 2003 as part of their "Rendez-vous with French Cinema."
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