Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno

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The clip above features two and a half minutes of the footage French director Henri-Georges Clouzot took in 1964 when he was trying to complete Inferno, a film about a middle-aged man obsessed with jealousy over his young wife, who was played by the stunning Romy Schneider. Well ahead of the great leaps forward in special effects and digital movie-making, Clouzot tried to create for the viewer some sense of the obsession, and he created this monument to fetishization. The Slinky scene about a minute and a half in is very amusing.

Clouzot, however, imploded as he was given an unlimited budget, pushed everyone on the set to their limits and had a heart attack himself. Fifteen hours of footage was found in 2005, and Serge Bromberg created a documentary about the project, using plenty of Clouzot's amazing original footage, connecting scenes with new actors reading the dialogue and interviews with cast and crew from the infamous project. Certainly fans of foreign films will love this, but it's a great documentary for anyone who enjoys watching an artist conjure a Captain Ahab-like obsession, only to chase the white whale to an epic and catastrophic end. It screens at Zeitgeist at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Wednesday (Feb. 11-16).

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