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L'Enfer (1994)
"L'enfer" (original title)

 |  Crime, Drama  |  November 1994 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,813 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 15 critic

Paul, an irritable and stressed-out hotel manager, begins to gradually develop paranoid delusions about his wife's infidelity. As he succumbs to green-eyed jealousy, his life starts to ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Nathalie Cardone ...
André Wilms ...
Marc Lavoine ...
Christiane Minazzoli ...
Mme Vernon
Dora Doll ...
Mme Chabert
Mario David ...
...
M. Vernon
...
Noël Simsolo ...
M. Chabert
Yves Verhoeven ...
Young Boy
Amaya Antolin ...
Mariette
Jean-Claude Barbier ...
M. Pinoiseau
Claire De Beaumont ...
Mme Rudemont
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Storyline

Paul, an irritable and stressed-out hotel manager, begins to gradually develop paranoid delusions about his wife's infidelity. As he succumbs to green-eyed jealousy, his life starts to crumble. Each step on his downward spiral to madness seems to accelerate, driving him further along the path to a personal hell. Finally, the former shell of his personality cracks completely, with tragic consequences. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

November 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'Enfer  »

Box Office

Gross:

$194,223 (USA)
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remake of Inferno (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Les couleurs du temps
Composed by Guy Béart
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User Reviews

De la normalité bourgoise jusqu'a l'enfer
19 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

Quite interesting film on obsession (an obsession of jealousy, in the specific case) and on the observation that hell is man-made. I liked the very solar performance of Emmanuelle Béart, while I expected something more from François Cluzet.

In order to frame the film properly, however, one must consider that the original script is from 1964 and that Chabrol went to a certain length not to let us lose sight of this fact: the film is shot in a very 60's technicolor; one of the hotel guests uses a camera rather than a video-camera, and the scene he shoots have an unmistakably 60's flavor; the water-ski scene (the key moment of the whole film) has a 60's pace and framing,... We are obviously supposed to read the film in a 1960's perspective. And, considering the political climate in France in the 60's, and the nature of Paul Prieur occupation (he is a hotel owner, therefore a businessman), I find it impossible not to read this film as a statement of the impossibility of the bourgeois ideal of happiness.

The bourgeois values make people equipped to strive for more, but don't give them the emotional tools to deal with their life once they are "arrived." The feeling that there must be something more, and that this can't be the perfection of life is too easily translated in the feeling that there *is* something wrong (a cheating wife: the greatest shame for the latin male), and in the creation of a personal hell.

It is very significant, I think, that the film was released at the dawn of the "new economy" which, even more that the traditional bourgeois values, leads people to a life of continuous movement, and makes them emotionally unprepared to deal with being finally arrived.


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