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also known as L'enfer d'Henri-Georges Clouzot

Inferno 2009

  • 4.2
One of the great, unfinished works in film history, Henri-Georges Clouzot's INFERNO was an audaciously experimental film with a virtually unlimited budget that was stopped only three weeks into production. Working closely with Clouzot's widow, Inès, Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea reconstructs Clouzot's original vision, filling and explaining the gaps with new interviews, re-enactments and Clouzot's own notes and storyboards, delivering an in-depth look at the masterpiece that might have been.

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Winner of "Best Documentary" ("Meilleur film documentaire") at the 2010 César Awards.


2 members like this review

Excellent doc about an amazing avant-garde gem of a film that never was. The footage that survives is mesmerizing. Was it the work of a genius, a mad man or both. "Inferno" disconnected and the many test shots are better than 90% of the work from Hollywood in the last 40 years. Romy Schneider is erotically hypnotic. No wonder the director had a breakdown and never wanted to finish the film. This doc captures the essence of that ill fated film shoot and gives us plenty of "Inferno" footage to leave us all regretting the loss of what could have been one of the best films of French cinema ever made. Recommended.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (14)

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top reviewer

Excellent doc about an amazing avant-garde gem of a film that never was. The footage that survives is mesmerizing. Was it the work of a genius, a mad man or both. "Inferno" disconnected and the many test shots are better than 90% of the work from Hollywood in the last 40 years. Romy Schneider is erotically hypnotic. No wonder the director had a breakdown and never wanted to finish the film. This doc captures the essence of that ill fated film shoot and gives us plenty of "Inferno" footage to leave us all regretting the loss of what could have been one of the best films of French cinema ever made. Recommended.

2 members like this review
8dae6774defd1d0f91cc7dd2835ce800?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0083
top reviewer

Beyond the hallucinatory rapture of Clouzot's visual experiments--which are so powerful they seem to have derailed the film itself (really, how could you integrate that kind of stuff into a narrative?)--this is fascinating to watch in the context of the lead's life and untimely death. In the 50s, Romy Schneider made her debut in kitschy, nationalistic movies that helped Germans and Austrians forget all about the Holocaust by evoking the picture-perfect empire of yesteryear; in 1982, she probably committed suicide. Here, you can see her stepping into the hell her life would become when she started taking on contemporary reality. (The film is called "Inferno," after all.) Young and innocent-looking half of the time, she exudes the sexiness of the damned in all the special-effects sequences. Just look what she does with a cigarette.

1 member likes this review

An interesting look at the process of feature filmmaking. "Inferno" may have been a soaring success of artistic expression had it not failed the logistical rigors of movie production. The footage that was left behind is dazzling. This docu is worth watching for that alone but the creators also added newly shot readings of the script which are quite wonderful.

1 member likes this review

Stunning. Trance inducing in some of Clouzot's visual experiments. A film within a film. Almost overwhelming with that hypnotic music and general mood of torture and genius interspersing.

Bouyant and real.

1 member likes this review

Amazing documentary. Makes me wish the film had been completed!

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

While L'Enfer was never completed, in this documentary telling it's story, we have multiple styles, techniques, and complete films -- all fabulous. One has to wonder if the offer of unlimited budget changed Clouzot's handling of his own creative process. Suddenly, he was able to explore motifs, and introduce complexities that couldn't have been possible before. There are infinite themes to draw upon that have to do with creativity, production, perfectionism, perspective ... A fascinating film.

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top reviewer

Romy is wonderful_ i don't like Reggiani at all but the lighting & effects are totally cool for the 60s too bad he never finished the film

E74c44940ab813caecf0eabaea0e59b6?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2ffemale%2favatar f 0027
top reviewer

wow. merci!

and joe, oh go watch casablanca willya?

its a film for a film student to learn from

Fascinating documentary, very interesting to see fragments of how avant- garde films were made in the early 60's. Makes the viewer wish the film had been completed.

a mess, quite appropriate to the non-film that is its focus. One gets a feeling very much like that of being in an auto that passes the scene of a messy accident. The wreckage is lying all about, but there is no narrative about what just happened and no summation of how it all ends. You just just keep moving, into and out of the situation. In that sense, this documentary and Infero itself, are representative of all the pretentious an overrated films of the avant garde of the day, from the obtuse 8 and 1/2 to the overly mannered and too easily parodied Fistful of Dollars. Inferno and this documentary are all style and no substance; sound and fury signifying only sound and fury. Comparison may be invidious, but if you know the films of Orson welled and Alfred Hitchcock, you know that art in film does not have to be ineffable and precious to be powerful and satisfying. Any 5 minutes of The Third Man or Touch of Evil is superior to two hours of this navel gazing.

Wow, never knew this great footage existed. Tres, tres bien. Every filmmaker must see this.

Wow. Amazing. Crazy yet lucid. Life.

Sad. Beautiful. Tragic. Amazing. This is as close as we'll ever get to seeing that masterpiece that never was.

 

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