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

 -  Crime | Drama  -  November 1994 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,499 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 13 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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Details

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Release Date:

November 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'Enfer  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross:

$194,223 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Connections

Remake of Inferno (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto pour violoncelle op. 104
Composed by Antonín Dvorák
Performed by Mstislav Rostropovich
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User Reviews

Compelling
3 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

Paul, an owner of a lakeside hotel and his naturally flirtatious and beautiful wife, Nelly seems to have it all, yet beneath the rosy facade there lurks a rotting jealousy, eating away inside Paul's unbalanced mind. This is the basic premise of Claude Chabrol's adaptation of Henri-Georges Clouzot 1964 script. The film hinges on two interrelated questions. Was Nell really unfaithful with many men, or was it all in Paul's unbalanced mind? Chabrol projects these anxieties from Paul's point of view,leaving the viewer to judge if there is any substance to Paul's jealousy.

The film is compelling and the acting is excellent, but we never know the real, underlying cause of Paul's frightening descent to madness because Charbol complacently skips through the early years of their marriage within the first six minutes. yet all of the sudden Paul is talking with an inner voice in his head, out of nowhere. This was one of the film's biggest weaknesses and perhaps Clouzot's original story was not "psychological" enough for Chabrol to work through in his usual, thorough fashion.Moreover, we also never know if Nelly really was unfaithful, thus compounding the ambiguity of Paul's jealousy.

Sometimes the direction is deliberately vague in projecting Paul's point of view, blurring the distinction between reality and fantasy. Moreover, the 1960s feel of the script is retained by Chabrol in his modern-day remaking of the values of that era in the early 1990s. as a result, L'enfer is strangely old-fashioned in its portrayal of women and men. The sets and costumes feel anachronistic, esp Nelly and her flirty friend. Only Paul and his doctor seem to exist in the early 1990s.

The open-ended existentialist non-ending,was the only way out for Chabrol and Cluzot, but perhaps by negating the climax, Chabrol did himself a disservice in not resolving the film's many ambiguities. But perhaps that's what Clouzot's intention was. All in all, the film is a celluloid embodiment of Satrte's famous line "Hell is other people".


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