One of the great, unfinished works in film history, Inferno, by Henri-Georges Clouzot 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.
In 1964, director Henri-Georges Clouzot (Diabolique, The Raven, The Wages of Fear, The Picasso Mystery) chose Romy Schneider, age 26, and Serge Reggiani, 42, to star in L'enfer (Inferno), an enigmatic and original project with an unlimited budget. Reggiani was to play Marcel Prieur, the manager of a modest hotel in provincial France who becomes possessed by the demons of jealousy. Intended to be a cinematic "event" upon its release, three weeks after shooting began on Inferno, things took a turn for the worse. The project was stopped, and the images, which were said to be "incredible", would remain unseen...
Working closely with Clouzot's widow, Inès, Serge Bromberg reconstructs Clouzot's original vision, filling and explaining the gaps with new interviews, re-enactments and Clouzot's own notes and storyboards. Midway between documentary and narrative, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno unveils, for the first time in nearly half a century, these luminous visions. It delivers an in-depth look at the masterpiece that might have been and explores the unnerving parallels between an artist and his work, featuring the original astonishing color expressionism that Clouzot captured on celluloid, a visual exploration of the director's own anxiety.
Both the DVD and the Blu-ray versions feature a brand-new HD transfer of the feature film with 5.1 audio and English subtitles in addition to a number of HD special features. "They Saw Inferno" is a 57-minute behind-the scenes featurette and is joined by an nine-minute interview with Director Serge Bromberg. Rounding out the set is an extensive image gallery, featuring rare pictures from the original production.
"Best of 2010" year-end Lists:
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
David Ehrenstein, LA Weekly
David Sterritt, Tikkun
COL/COA - Jury Award
Los Angeles Film Critics Association - Legacy Award
Color / B&W / 96 Mins.
French / English Subtitles Widescreen / PG-13