L’enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot is a documentary about Clouzot's film, L'enfer which was never completed or released for almost half a century. Hundreds and hundreds yards of film had been sitting at a vault collecting dust until Serge Bromberg convinced Mrs. Clouzot to give him the permission to release it. And I'm glad he did. What an amazing and valuable footage this was! I've never heard of Clouzot or this movie, I'm not a big fan of old french films, until the guys at Film spotting mentioned it. The clip I manage to find at youtube looked very interesting so I decide to watch it at New York Film Festival this weekend.
Basically Clouzot, after many successful films was given almost unlimited funds and crew to make this movie, and drove himself and everyone nuts by endless experiments and re-shooting until his main actor leaves the set and Clouzot get a heart attach. It was a very fascinating to watch what happens to real people collaboratively making art without limitation. It is every artist's dream to have unlimited resources and not having to make a forced decision when they aren't happy with their work. I certainly day dream about one day to be able to have the backing as Clouzot did when I make my art. But after watching this film I realized to complete a project, especially if it is huge and involves lots of people, you need someone or something to put a stop on you, forcing you to make a decision, to change things if it doesn't work, to compromise. Otherwise it will never be done. I'm sure Clouzot wasn't the easiest person to work with, but any ambitious artists would go through the same turmoil as Clouzot did in the same situation. Even though L'enfer was a failure, it still produced an admirable footage of crazy visual experiments. Most of these footage of experiments would have been lost if the film was actually completed and released because Clouzot was only going to used a few seconds of it, so in a way I'm glad that this film never got completed. How else will the public see this kind of film works of big name directors? The story of L'enfer didn't seem that special to me, the basic plot is about a man who is extremely jealous of his wife, goes crazy and kills (or doesn't kill?) his wife. We've seen a movie like this before. We have no idea if this movie would have been special if it was actually completed. But watching this documentary was a definitely a special experience for me.