Disques Cinémusique releases L'Enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot
In 1964, director Henri-Georges Clouzot undertook the making of Inferno, an
ambitious psychological thriller which promised to be a landmark in the history
of French cinema. Serge Reggiani starred as a husband obsessed with the
alleged infidelities of his younger wife, embodied by the seductive Romy
Schneider. The German born actress was then prepared to give her very best
to overcome the too wholesome image associated with her Sissi character.
Paradoxically, the more than comfortable budget that Clouzot benefited from
for Inferno, thanks to the participation of the Americans, finally proved to be
detrimental for the project and indirectly caused its abandonment after a
series of episodes that were widely reported by the press at the time.
45 Years later, cinema historian Serge Bromberg managed to persuade
Clouzot’s estate to grant access to the 185 cans of Inferno’s rushes in order
to reconstitute the genesis of this legendary misadventure. His movie,
produced with the collaboration of Ruxandra Medrea, carried off the César
for Best Documentary in 2010. It features scenes on location played mainly
by Reggiani, Schneider and Dany Carrel, as well as kinetic art tests that deal
with movements of forms and colors. In the contemporary part of the
documentary, actors Bérénice Béjo and Jacques Gamblin perform additional
scenes taken from the original Clouzot script, and there are numerous
testimonies by some technicians who worked on Inferno.
On this fascinating narrative framework, Bruno Alexiu composed a rich, vibrant
and sensitive score that also appears to be a tribute to famous predecessors
like François de Roubaix, Georges Delerue and Michel Magne, with an occasional
nod to Bernard Herrmann. Sensuous jazz and electric guitar rhythms embellished
with brass alternate with more abstract sonic experimentations, the whole
effectively reflecting the typical effervescence of the sixties.
Liner notes are by Jim Lochner, managing editor of Film Score Monthly Online,
in a 20-page booklet with numerous archival stills.