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L’Enfer

Director: Claude Chabrol


In 1964, Henri Georges Clouzot, the late, legendary French director of the suspense classic Les Diaboliques who had temporarily usurped Hitchcock’s throne as the master of suspense, was forced to abandon shooting of L’Enfer after suffering a heart attack. A few years later, the much younger Claude Chabrol – who began life as a critic in the 50’s – carved out a name for himself for similarly veined thrillers. Now, 30 years later, Chabrol has finally brought Clouzot’s vision to the screen. Paul (Cluzet), a hotelier in the south of France marries Nelly (Beart after a whirlwind romance. The couple settle down to raising a family and running the hotel, but Paul starts noticing what he believes are indiccations of her unfaithfulness – showing slides on a projector to a guest in a darkened room, her disappearance with a man on an island after a watersking trip, her acquisition of an expensive dress she can’t possibly afford. As Paul’s desire to know the truth consumes him, Nelly sends him an ultimatum, that if he doesn’t cease his paranoia, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Chabrol appropriates Clouzot’s intense psychological character study as pastiche Hitchcock – primarily Vertigo’s doom-laden man-pursuing-woman plot reworked vias query as to wheterh a suspect marital partner is actually guilty of committing a misdemeanour….a bloody tour de force.

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