In this short based on the famous Poe Novel "the pit and the pendulum" ,Alexandre Astruc applies his "the camera is a pen" theory as he perhaps never did in his feature films .Unlike Roger Corman's contemporary version ,it's the short novel and only the short-novel.Apart from the wardens,in the first five minutes,there is only one actor on the screen:Maurice Ronet with his voice over.
The "political" "historical" context is very vague probably because Poe knew that the word " Inquisition" meant "torture" "horror" and "terror" for the readers who could imagine anything when man's cruelty knew no bounds:hence the improbable cell with two different tortures :the waiting is the hardest thing.The prisoner tied to his straw mattress who sees the pendulum getting closer to his heart is filmed with a great virtuosity.One can regret that the noise of the swinging should be spoiled by a female choir for a short while.
Maurice Ronet's voice is perfect and conveys despair,exhaustion,terror or hope with conviction.The actor loved Edgar Allan Poe:short before his death he transferred to the screen (MTV) several of his short stories including "the gold-bug" .
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