This enthralling documentary on a film that was never completed began with a chance encounter. A few years ago, co-director Serge Bromberg, a film archivist and restoration specialist, was in a stalled elevator with the widow of legendary filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot, best known for the masterpieces The Wages of Fear (1953) and Diabolique (1955). Through this meeting, Bromberg gained access to the 15 hours of footage from Inferno, a movie that Clouzot abandoned in 1964. “Inferno,” we learn, takes on a double meaning: Clouzot and his cast and crew were completely in hell. The lead actor in Clouzot’s film, about a husband driven mad by jealousy, eventually walked off the set, fed up with the director’s obsessive controlling; shortly thereafter, Clouzot, who had become overwhelmed by the project, suffered a heart attack. Filled with endlessly fascinating anecdotes from surviving cast and crew, including the actress Catherine Allégret and the filmmaker Costa-Gavras (who was an assistant director on Clouzot’s movie), Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno is also a testament to the stunning look of this film-that-never-was. The footage from Inferno reveals Clouzot’s experimentation with Op Art designs and psychedelic color schemes—which only further emphasized the bewitching beauty of the film’s then-26-year-old star, Romy Schneider.

“It’s a fascinating story and its neatly understated telling by a series of key collaborators… would make for a compelling watch in itself. But, unusually for a documentary, it’s the film’s aesthetic revelations that offer its real pleasures: Clouzot’s highly ambitious vision for his tale of consumptive jealousy melded the progressive artforms of the mid-1960s…with an innovative set of filming techniques…to startling effect.”
Catherine Wheatley, Sight and Sound

Serge Bromberg & Ruxandra Medrea

Serge Bromberg. Original screenplay by Henri-Georges Clouzot, José-André Lacour, and Jean Ferry.

Odette: Bérénice Bejo
Marcel: Jacques Gamblin
Cast 1964:
Odette: Romy Schneider
Marcel: Serge Reggiani
Marylou: Dany Carrel
Martineau: Jean-Claude Bercq
Dr. Arnoux: Maurice Garrel

Best Documentary – César Awards (2010)

GENRE Documentary
PRODUCTION France, 2009
RATING Not Rated
FORMAT(S) 35mm, Beta SP, Blu-ray, Digibeta, DVD, HDCAM

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