This, apparently, is a film where you gain prestige by saying you like it, thereby associating yourself with the great insane folk of the past, always a sure way to build cred. In my view, if someone has to tell you that someone is (or was) great, they probably don't know what they are talking about. If your greatness is limited to a time or place, you're not great. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
In this case, the emperor has no clothes.
Half of the audience I saw this with could not bear to sit through it to the end, and like Serge and Jean-Louis, they simply walked out. If that was the desired effect, then the filmmakers did great -- at failing.
This film didn't know whether it wanted to tell the story IN the film, or the story OF the film, so it tried to do both, thus failing at both. You've got footage mixed in with experiment mixed in with interviews mixed in with acting, and then there's a soundtrack which we're told didn't exist.
What I liked most about the film was the experimental footage, but even that got old rather quickly. There's only so long a person can be dazzled by the idea of rotating a light about someone's face in different colours. We get it already. To be fair, there are a number of other quite interesting shots, including for some reason a sea of noses, and a sparkly cellophane strangulation.
I do hope to one day see the 1994 L'enfer, which was adapted from the 1964 failure. It currently has a 7.0 score on IMDb, so I hope it will be time well spent.
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