Saturday, August 1, 2009

Inferno: Clouzot's classic cut short

Melbourne International Film Festival 2009

It’s a compliment to Henri-Georges Clouzot that his unfinished film L’enfer (The Inferno) has an entry on IMDb. The recent French documentary L'enfer d'Henri-Georges Clouzot explores the reasons for its abrupt termination. It also pays homage to a potentially great classic, alongside his other films such as Les diaboliques.

Romy Schneider, who starred as Odette, was at the height of her career and her onscreen presence. Serge Reggiani, who was the catalyst for the film’s abandonment, played her psychotic husband Marcel. Clouzot’s uncharacteristic lack of focus and on-set heart attack were also culprits, it seems.

Salvador Dali’s surreal contributions to Hitchcock’s dream sequence in Spellbound have nothing on the special effects created for Marcel’s nightmares of jealousy. It is worth seeing just for these alone.

Unfortunately all the sound has been lost. Some script-readings and voiceovers, plus some discreet sound effects, help to enhance the extensive original footage.

This is one for movie buffs: a documentary about a film that was never finished.

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