Film archivist Serge Bromberg uncovers a treasure trove of imagery from an unfinished film called L’enfer starring Romy Schneider and directed by the French master Henri-Georges Clouzot, known for Wages of Fear and Diabolique.
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Strange how I've the feeling to have watched the completed version of Clouzot's L'Enfer now, as though the film doesn't exist at all. This documentary is another proof that an artist, without being bridled, causes his own destruction. Masterpiece.
Man, I wish that I made this movie. Amazing documentary of about Henri Clouzot's decent into madness, consumed with obsession for his leading lady. The film was never finished. The only remaining bits of test shots and dialogue scenes were edited into the film, while those who worked on the project discuss its production. Fascinating. One of the best movie docs I've ever seen.
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno is a real trip. It gives you a fresh look at a movie that could've been a revolutionary hit at the time. The movie is dazzling, the clips are spectacular, and the effects are beautiful. If you're into Henri-Georges Clouzot or whatever, you're sure to lose youself in the story of a movie that never finalized.
'L'enfer' with a final cut could have become Clouzot's magnum opus. It touches on something innately universal despite its abstractions. Towing the line between genius and madness is the archetype of the finest art; stretching the faculties as a catalyst to volatility, to the limits of what the soul can bear is often where magic happens. Creative masochism, to subjugate oneself for truth is a gift to the audience.
The over indulgences and experimentations of a filmmaker striving to reinvent himself sink what could have been a classic. Clouzot's "L'enfer" is one of the great failed production stories that left behind an astounding 13 hours of rushes that the filmmaker's use here to great advantage. The original footage is fascinating and innovative but the interviews and recreations are just as enjoyable. Formidable.
Bromberg and Mereda's documentary will never serve as adequate recompensation for the finished Cluozot film that was not to be. The reams of film that were gathered from the "tests" leading up to production are equal parts breathtaking and mindblowing. This was a film that was clearly going to dwarf Hitchcock's Psycho for zeitgeist-reshaping. The story of the production is a perfect model for 60s excess and hubris.
I finally watched it - the very first film I added to my "watch list" on mubi (well, the auteurs back then) about 3 years ago! I feel accomplished somehow... L'Enfer looked like it could have been Clouzot's Vertigo! I wish I could have seen it!
They kept talking about this film as if it would be an amazing revolutionary film. Hitchcock made Vertigo back in 1958, and this would have been very similar to the older film. The real story is not the film, but how Cluzot did a Heaven's Gate. Also it seemed pretty obvious to me that he was suffering from depression. Lots of work with little results. Grandiose notions.