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HENRI GEORGES CLOUZOT'S INFERNO
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 American financing, 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 shot on location played mainly by Reggiani, Schneider and Dany Carrel, as well as kinetic art tests that deal with movement of forms and color. 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 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 nineteen sixties.
20-page booklet with numerous archival stills.
01 Générique début /Romy en bateau 1:49
02 La Colombe d’Or /Paris 1964 1:44
03 Promenade /Les Paquets 2:19
04 Essais des costumes 3:46
05 Le nouvel univers plastique 1:41
06 Instabilité /Illusions d’optique 4:22
07 Essais de course 1:25
08 Débuts prometteurs 2:02
09 Le lac 1:11
10 Romy cinétique 1:32
11 La terrasse /Filature dans la ville 4:28
12 Suivre ce car 1:48
13 Visions du lac /Vus ! 2:43
14 Incohérences /Essais de course avec Reggiani 1:43
15 Poursuite autour du lac 1:27
16 Rejet /Jalousie /Début de la fin /Clouzot dans le marché 4:03
17 Meurtre /Départ de Reggiani /Tourner, tourner 3:08
18 Romy 2:30
19 Générique de fin 2:41
Randall D. Larson’s Soundtrax Column, July 3, 2011
From its elegant opening through frothy jazz pieces and moody mysterioso, much of it dominated by piano, the score exudes a kind of sensuality and allure that would have fit the 1964 movie perfectly; as such it creates such a mood of nostalgia for Clouzot’s 1964 and effervesces with the jazzy delight of the period that it is a thoroughly captivating experience on CD.