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Okay, this is an insiders' movie for the die-hards, but it works for everyone.
The director presumably got the idea when he got stuck with Clouzot's widow in an elevator - he even thanks the elevator for its technical failure in the credits.
What do we learn? Overall, we learn about flawed genius, about how unlimited budgets can send a brilliant director off-track. we learn about how far actors will go to satisfy their director's requirements.
What do we see? First, being born in 1964, the year the movie was filmed, I loved the stilted, post-industrial surroundings at the lake and the hotel were the film was supposed to be set. I loved the costumes, the modernity and became totally nostalgic (to going back to being a baby, I suppose). Romy... Does it add anything we haven't seen from her? Perhaps not, but it sure is nice and especially to see her with Serge Reggiani who only makes her beauty shine more.
Does it work as a documentary? Yes, very well, in my humble opinion. The director does not ask (irrelevant) questions, but he simply presents the material and gives us an insight that perhaps, there was more than Clouzot's seizure to halt filming. He uses beautiful background music to make-up for the missing soundtrack. The dialogues read by two really good actors: well, perhaps it was a bit contrite, but I was thinking all the time that one of the things that would have been quite mediocre had the film been completed, would have been that: the dialogues were flat, boring and superficial (but the actors read them well).
My friend asked me: how many movies are there about a movie. Lots, but yesterday evening I could not think of one. But this is more, this is a documentary about a movie about failing to make a movie.
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