HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
Knockabout
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
   
 
  Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno Masterpiece Or Mess-terpiece?
Year: 2009
Director: Serge Bromberg, Ruxandra Medrea
Stars: Romy Schneider, Bérénice Bejo, Serge Reggiani, Jacques Gamblin, Dany Carrel, Jean-Claude Bercq, Mario David, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Gilbert Amy, Jacques Douy, Jean-Louis Ducarme, Costa Gavras, William Lubtchansky, Thi Lan Nguyen, Joël Stein, Bernard Stora
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: By chance, film archivist Serge Bromberg happened to meet the widow of one of France's greatest movie directors, Henri-Georges Clouzot, when they were trapped in a lift together. They got to talking, and she revealed that there were cans of footage in existence of a project called L'enfer that her husband never completed; Bromberg was immediately interested, and once he saw what those reels depicted, he worked out a documentary that would serve as a reconstruction of what Clouzot had in mind when he started it. Or rather, a construction, because the production was doomed from the start...

Not because Clouzot was unprofessional, but because his ambition at the height of the French New Wave was out of step with the times: here was a filmmaker of a far older generation trying to beat the younger ones at their own game through innovation, yet the unspoken theme of this is that he was too staid in his practices to keep up with them and so the man who was once a pioneer, known as the French Alfred Hitchcock, was defeated by the very medium he had contributed so much to. This means, as with all tales of films that were thwarted before completion, there's a sadness to the presentation of their blighted history.

Bromberg assembled all the crew members he could find who were still alive and placed them in front of his own camera, including respected director in his own right Costa-Gavras, and had them relate their memories of L'enfer, and he works up a fair idea of what it was like to be a part of the production as they reveal that Clouzot was a hard taskmaster and given to yelling when he wanted his way. He was an insomniac as well, which meant he would telephone members of his team at all hours of the night with fresh ideas, leaving them exhausted during the day when they were supposed to be at their brightest. With everyone feeling the strain and behind schedule, it was no surprise that something had to give.

Was this really such a great loss? From the archive clips we see, Clouzot was pushing back boundaries in how to fashion what was a fairly straightforward story of a husband's jealousy for his younger, more vibrant wife, and that was due to his representations of the husband's mania that arose from the situation. To this end the director shot many tests of what can best be described as experimental film, with camera trickery, lighting effects, and abstract imagery to spare, both in black and white and in colour, the latter looking like an early version of the psychedelic visuals that would arise closer to the end of the sixties - this was made in 1964, and those experimental scenes look ahead of their time and somehow apart from it.

For his star, Clouzot had secured the services of Romy Schneider, and on the evidence we see here when he wasn't shining coloured lights in her face he was sending her waterskiing for what seem like near-endless scenes. Schneider was still in the first flush of her popularity in France, but L'enfer looked to have been something that would have cast the actress in a different light (not just the kaleidoscopic kind), though it was not to be this time. Would the film have been a masterpiece? It's hard to tell, as while the arresting imagery is something to behold, it looks as if Clouzot was making it up as he went along, and there's a definite strain of misogyny to what plot we see as the husband (Serge Reggiani) grows to hate his wife, all of which might have made the end result somewhat hard to take. Bromberg did well to bring this to the screen in even its unfinished form, but it's a frustrating watch. Music by Bruno Alexiu.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2424 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: