This documentary about Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unfinished 1964 psycho-thriller L’Enfer is as tantalising as it is frustrating. Clouzot remains one of the most masterful of French directors, having produced such unsurpassable classics as The Raven (Le Corbeau, 1943) and The Wages of Fear (Le Salaire de la peur, 1953). A meticulous filmmaker as well as a master of suspense to rival Alfred Hitchcock, he inexplicably seems to have lost control on the big-budget production of L’Enfer. The long-lost raw footage is intriguing and dazzling, infused with swirling lights and blue-lipped, cigarette-puffing fantasy temptresses. A real shame, then, that although directors Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Mederea have managed to speak to numerous members of the original crew, this behind-the-scenes investigation has so little to say about the reasons behind Clouzot’s failure to complete the film. In spite of this, the undiminished power of Clouzot’s extraordinary images makes the documentary a fascinating watch.
Pamela Jahn and Virginie Sélavy
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