Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno (2009, Bromberg & Medrea)

Very good doc on the film Clouzot almost made between La Vérité and La Prisonnière, starring Romy Schneider (of Welles’ The Trial) and Serge Reggiani (just off Le Doulos and The Leopard). The couple is on their honeymoon, or maybe just on vacation, in a small town shot in black-and-white, and Reggiani becomes increasingly wildly jealous of everyone his wife has contact with, his state of mind represented with color fantasy sequences and optical-illusion effects. Decades after the film fell apart (mainly because the writer/producer/director’s overreaching ambition clashed with his own perfectionism for details, wasting time and money and tiring the cast and crew) the script was filmed in the 90’s by Claude Chabrol, which I believe was the first of Chabrol’s movies I ever watched, too long ago for me to compare the finished movie with the Clouzot fragments.

Clouzot got some great cinematographers and effects people, including Claude Renoir, Rudolph Maté (The Passion of Joan of Arc) and Andreas Winding (Play Time). It was also the first credited film work by William Lubtchansky, who is one of the main interview subjects. The documentary is very excellent, showing much of the never-finished film (the color footage in particular looks amazingly vibrant, like it was shot yesterday), and not getting into irrelevant sidetrack stories. Interiors (and therefore most of the dialogue scenes) were never shot, and there’s no surviving sound recording from set, so two actors read from the script on a black stage, providing missing context.