Thursday, November 26, 2009

Georges Clouzot's Inferno: Serge Bromberg.

Arising from a chance meeting in a broken lift with Clouzot's widow, Bromberg was allowed use of 185 cans of film from the incompleted film Clouzot wrote in the 60s with Romay Schneider and Serge Reggiani as the couple whose marriage is detroyed by his jealousy. A mix of soundless clips from the intended film and of cast and crew with actors reading extracts from the script, the documentary shows how Clouzot's search for perfection became a destructive obsession which led to the project falling well behind schedule and well over budget. Clouzot seemed to be besotted almost with Schneider who was then the most wanted star of European cinema and his treatment of Reggiani could possibly have reflected this: Reggiani did walk from the film in the end which was another reason for its non-completion. With the footage there is, even with no soundtrack, one wonders if some version might not be possible - a comparison with the Beart 'L'Enfer', the same story, would be interesting. Clouzot had moved from the spare directness of 'La Corbeau' and ' Le Salaire de Peur' by experimenting with deliberate distortions which did not seem to have any great relevance. While there is obviously an audience for 'The Making of...' features as is evidenced by their appearance on DVDs, it is the human interaction that is really of interest. Even though there were interviews with a number of the lesser participants, the Clouzot, Schneider, Reggiani triangle which reflects the triangle in the fictional film was not really explored so the film was less interesting. However, one is grateful that anything was made about this great director's 'lost' intended masterpiece.

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