You may have seen this one surface on more than one 2010 top-ten list from The Playlist team and with good reason; “Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno” is one of the best documentaries about moviemaking we’ve seen in a long time.
Directed by Serge Bromberg the film both investigates and pieces together the astoundingly ambitious and never completed film “Inferno” by Henri-Georges Clouzot. The story is pretty remarkable. At the height of both popular and critical acclaim, Columbia Pictures pretty much gave Clouzot a blank check to make his next film. For the project, Clouzot lined up the luminous Romy Schneider and Serge Reggiani, planning to tell the story of a man consumed by jealously and rage as he believed his wife was cheating on him with both men and women. But the director wanted to take things one step further and he wanted to visualize the emotions his characters and thus embarked on a near endless process of shooting test footage. Even as production on the film actually commenced, Clouzot continued to shoot more tests, delaying the project more and more to the growing frustration of his cast and production crew. Clouzot then suffered a heart attack halting and then quashing the film altogether.
Well, if you didn’t get a chance to see the documentary during its limited theatrical run, the good folks over at The Criterion Cast have confirmed that Flicker Alley is currently prepping the film for a BluRay (and we presume DVD too) release in March. No word on any extras but we hope there is lots of test footage that didn’t make it into the film — it’s really quite special. The documentary collates the test footage, interviews and re-enactments to chronicle the making of the film as well as give a window into what the completed film would have looked like. Or you could also rent Claude Chabrol‘s “Hell,” a film he made based on Clouzot’s “Inferno” script.
We always like a good what-could-have-been story and this is one of the best. Keep an eye out this spring for when “Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno” hits shelves.