Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno (2009) (Eng subs)


Uploaded by laourakumi on 31.08.2012

Transcript:
This story began in the elevator of a Paris apartment house,
between the fourth and third floors, to be precise.
I am claustrophobic and for two hours
I was stuck in an elevator with a companion in misfortune.
So we got acquainted.
Inès was the widow of famous filmmaker Henry-Georges Clouzot,
a cult figure,
one of the greatest directors ever.
She talked about her husband who’d died 30 years ago,
and the masterpieces that so thrilled me.
L’assassin habite au 21,
Le Corbeau, Quai des Orfèvres,
The Wages of Fear, Les Diaboliques...
She also talked about his lasting regret,
Inferno, in 1964.
A huge budget, an ill-fated production,
a film he saw as his most important
and which no one would ever see.
She told me about those forgotten cans of film,
the dramatic story of the making of the film.
These 185 cans of film
are all that remain of Inferno.
13 hours of exposed film,
the genesis of a film that sought to revolutionise cinema.
185 cans of film
unseen for more than half a century.
No soundtrack.
These cans, these images,
tell us the story of Inferno.
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno.
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s INFERNO
It can’t be!
It all started with insomnia.
I had this idea
which was to dramatise
the anxiety attacks I suffer every night
and which keep me awake.
So I wrote a 50-page treatment.
Well, I very quickly realised,
after having finished these 50 pages, sadly,
that it was fairly easy to convey to an audience
a character having ten obsessions,
but you can’t share these obsession in two hours,
because they took ten years to poison him.
There’s an obvious pathological side to this film.
Semi pathological...
The principal character...
for a period I can’t define because it would take too long on television,
is in a pathological state.
But often enough he is perfectly normal.
Are you personally interested in the morbid and pathological?
Not particularly.
But the starting point is you, isn’t it?
I don’t think I’m a pathological case.
I had been once, but I’m not any more.
You had been?
I had a depression, yes.
A real one!
I’m not alluding to a particular starlet’s depression.
I tell you... nothing.
Don’t think...
Forget.
Don’t think.
Forget.
Earlier...
I was about to leave for Clermont with her.
But we’re still here...
Like before.
Like before what?
Inferno is the story of a man, Marcel Prieur,
and his wife Odette.
Just married, they take over a small hotel
in the Cantal department, by the Garabit Viaduct.
The script starts here.
A happy opening, images of happiness.
The film starts now.
And as it says in the script,
it starts...
badly.
I arrived at the Colombe d’Or where Clouzot was living at the time.
He gave me the script, some 300 pages.
He said “Read it and we’ll discuss it.” It was late afternoon.
An hour later he calls and says “Well?”
I say “I’ve barely started.”
He called me twice that evening. I said
“No, tomorrow morning. I haven’t had time to take notes.”
When we met the next morning I asked him a specific question.
He re-read the scene to answer my question.
It was a powerful moment as it lasted a very long time.
It was ten lines.
But he took a long time puffing on his pipe,
reading and re-reading,
as if trying to see exactly what he wanted to do and how.
That’s an image that will forever stay with me.
Clouzot had lived at the Colombe d’Or for ten years.
This inn, far from busy Paris in St Paul de Vence,
had become a Mecca of French art.
Here you could meet anybody who mattered,
painters, actors, writers, musicians.
Since filming Picasso,
he’d developed a passion for painting.
Depression and the tragic death of his first wife Vera,
were far behind now.
In 1963, he married Inès,
finished the script for Inferno on which he’d worked for many years,
and tried the opening lines on other hotel regulars, like
Serge Reggiani...
Yves Montand, Simone Signoret,
and her daughter, Catherine Allégret, who’d debut in the film.
I feel like I’d always known Clouzot.
Mum and Montand were always there, me at times and Clouzot all the time.
He was part of daily life at the Colombe d’Or.
He must have thought no one had ever depicted jealousy properly.
He cut deep into the pain of jealousy.
Someone so obsessive... It’s pathological.
It reaches the point of neurosis.
He depicted neurosis, beyond the drama of jealousy.
The feeling I had when reading the script
was of something totally physical.
More physical than intellectual.
I remember the story perfectly,
but what remains weren’t scenes where you say
“This is terrific! What vision...”
It’s not that. It’s something...
you experience when you progress through the script.
The anxiety and neurosis felt by Marcel, by Reggiani,
is so potent,
that you’re overwhelmed by a physical sense of angst,
to the point where you can’t breathe.
Clouzot and Romy Schneider.
Filmed together for the first time.
Can 5 and the following contain the first exposed images.
First moment of shared enthusiasm: the costume tryouts.
In 1955, Romy had become Sissi.
Now, at 26, she was this young star
who’d already worked with Welles, De Sicca, Siodmak and Visconti.
For the general public she was still the innocent Sissi.
For Clouzot, she would be the sensual, alluring Odette,
object of Marcel’s gaze and obsessive jealousy.
It was a pretty amazing story,
written, I think, for Romy Schneider alone.
Romy who was, at the time, one of the major French actresses,
despite her Austrian origins.
Romy’s co-star, Serge Reggiani would be Marcel Prieur.
He’s 42 and had already worked with Clouzot 15 years earlier in Manon.
The two men knew each other well and met often at the Colombe d’Or.
There were many contenders for the part,
but Clouzot fought with the producers.
He wanted Reggiani.
People said he had a head like a carved chestnut.
So he was perfect for the role of a man
who becomes totally paranoid and jealous.
He easily fitted the bill.
Clouzot cast hotel regular Jean-Claude Bercq
as Martineau, the mechanic from the next village,
a buck, show-off and womaniser.
Did he seduce Odette? Is he the only one?
Alongside Mario David,
the fourth member of the cast, the impish Dany Carrel,
would play carefree Marylou, best friend and village hairdresser.
In the story Clouzot imagined, she is both angel and demon.
She introduces the sense of seduction
and doubt.
In the cinema of the time, Clouzot was one of the greats.
One of those French directors
who could get the actors and funding he wanted
to do as he wanted.
So in terms of budget and production it was a big film.
People were talking about “Clouzot’s film”.
Also the fact that he had American backing
added an extra element.
Clouzot hadn’t worked in four years.
His last film, La Vérité with Brigitte Bardot
had won a prize at Venice.
Four long years of waiting.
As the new film seemed out of the ordinary,
the cameras of the only TV channel of the time
went to the Hotel George V where Clouzot had his headquarters.
He rounded up his usual team of long-time collaborators.
I met a Clouzot quite different
from the one I’d known when making Quai des Orfèvres.
To begin with,
he took up a suite at the George V to prepare the film,
when in the old days, he’d settle for a drafting office in the studio,
or, as on Quai des Orfèvres,
my brother’s flat on Rue des Bourdonnais.
It was casual and easygoing.
But this time, it was a bit more Hollywood - like.
9 a.m. In a five star hotel, the Clouzot factory is gearing up.
With an engineer’s precision,
Clouzot begins the preparation for his new film, Inferno,
starring Romy Schneider and Serge Reggiani.
His character’s obsessive jealousy has been chartered on colour-coded cards,
depending on his moods and actions in time and space.
Madness conceived as an equation.
In any case, the story boards, previously used in Wages Of Fear,
are magnified here.
This clever system allows
to calculate a character’s height in the camera’s field
depending on the lens.
Clouzot demanded
extremely detailed preparation
so that when he was on the set
he could focus almost exclusively on the actors’ performance.
The 2-D representation you see here,
is exactly what you have in the frame
if you respect the focal of the lens
and the camera position.
Sometimes he’d say “I’d like you to film
“a bottle of mineral water on the side table with a 75 mm lens.”
I’d answer “What’s the point?
“You know all about it.
“You know what you get with a 75 if the camera is 80 cm away
“or if it’s 120 cm away.”
But he needed to be reassured.
He always saw the big picture whatever the angle.
He was criticised by the New Wave for being too meticulous,
for planning everything out in the script.
That was the main criticism of those great directors.
You had to improvise. That was the keyword.
Today it’s auteur cinema.
Each generation has its own...
He had a nice line about it. “I improvise on paper.”
He was fascinated by the film 8 1/2,
which had rocked the cinema at the time.
Especially filmmakers of Clouzot’s generation,
who made, not so much traditional films,
but a certain type of film.
Suddenly there was this amazing phenomenon,
the birth of a totally different cinema.
I think that with Inferno
Clouzot wanted to make another kind of cinema.
Odette.
Odette!
Mr Martineau was just showing me his slides.
In the dark?
True, it is dark.
But with this thing you don’t need light.
Know what time it is?
I don’t know. 8? 8.30?
8.20.
How time flies!
They’re waiting for dinner.
Don’t get mad. I’m going.
It’s a tale of jealousy that is not totally thrilling.
I think the film would only have been interesting
if those famous tests
had led him to something totally new, something extraordinary,
a new way of treating images, of filming,
a new visual world.
At the time it was all very “in”...
IRCAM, Boulez,
electro-acoustic music, op art...
It was all part of the 60s environment.
Everyone was talking about it.
We started as a small team.
There was Clouzot, Winding, me.
Maybe a grip... Very few people.
We began by filming an exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts,
called new forms.
There was Yvaral, Vasarely and others. It was about kinetic art.
The film tells the story of a man
who is obsessive and pathologically jealous.
He thinks his wife is cheating on him with anyone, men or women.
Each time he thinks his wife is cheating,
he has feats of jealousy
and the outside world becomes deformed.
We had to figure out how to deform this universe.
Instability... We liked the word.
It was exactly what we wanted to capture.
The visual discomfort
of people observing something
and the questioning of visual logic.
He proposed
to Jean-Pierre, Yvaral and myself,
to come and recreate certain elements in the studio.
And very quickly this representation of objects in the studio
turned into a request to come up with,
to create effects specific to the film.
Marcel Prieur loses his visual and spatial bearings.
Obsessive jealousy also distorts his perception of sounds.
How did Clouzot plan to explore
the sound landscape of his hero’s madness?
It was at Jean-Louis Ducarme’s, in a small box,
that a single sound reel was found.
30 minutes of tests, which talk and tell us a story.
What does she see in him?
In March 1964,
Clouzot made his first studio test recordings.
With him was Ducarme, a young sound engineer,
from public radio’s research division,
and Gilbert Amy, a leading light of electro-acoustic music.
He told me
“I have this very ambitious film project,
“in which I want the music, not just the music but the sound,
“to be not only in the foreground, but to move the film along.”
“That means we start off with sound, voices,
“which will lead to the projections, the shooting of visuals.
“And I want you to think
“how you would work as a composer
“on manipulating the voices in particular.”
Of course he explained what the film was about,
the theme of jealousy and so on.
And the fact that the mind hears voices in a certain way.
The mind of the main character, to be played by Serge Reggiani,
hears voices that remind him,
that maintain the phenomenon of morbid, pathological jealousy.
Your wound’s opened again.
It’s your wound opening.
What did you expect? Your wound opened.
You never started to imagine such things. Look.
Look.
Come on...
Don’t be afraid. Show some courage.
As you can see...
She’s here, here...
Here, here, here...
These sound aggressions are deformed phrases.
He starts to multiply his assumptions.
And he multiplies them so much,
that he repeats a lot of phrases
from things he’s seen in his daily life,
or supposedly saw, but actually imagined.
And this progression
in the complications of his mental torture
is translated in practice by superimposed voices,
like when a musician writes a fugue.
First voice, second voice, then the descent.
And the more time passes in the film’s story,
the more it takes on monstrous dimensions.
At first it’s only babbling,
inverting syllables as in back slang, if you want.
But then it grows
and becomes totally uncontrollable.
If you end up like that,
take a vacation and go see a psychiatrist.
It’s something like that.
So... May be that’s what excites him?
We play bitchy mama.
Hanky-panky, titty-titty, bang-bang...
Bitch!
Shit, he’s married.
All the more reason to be two-timed.
Let him feel her up, stick his paws all over her.
They leave no trace, no fingerprints.
Just a kid sometimes, as a souvenir.
Wait, I’ve got my key.
You’re gonna get locked up.
Double lock. Gotcha, bitch.
Nabbed.
Nothing.
You’re safe.
Don’t think, calm down.
Everything is in its place.
Calm down. Think of nothing.
Calm...
Okay, next time we’ll take a cab.
- Odette. - Yes?
Aren’t you going too far?
What? He flirted with me, I took advantage.
- Did you pay the printer? - Yes, right after lunch.
He called at 3 p.m. to ask for his cheque.
Like I said, I dropped by after lunch.
- You were at your mum’s til 3? - Mum? I never mentioned Mum.
Didn’t you lunch with her?
She had a student. An hours of scales, no thanks.
I dropped by Marylou’s, we had a snack in the shop.
What about her customers?
Luckily, there were none.
Until 3?
I don’t spend my life checking my watch.
Wait a second...
You’re jealous!
Jealous...
I’m not blaming you. On the contrary.
It shows you care about your wife.
Nice, isn’t in?
Must be expensive.
Guess.
It’s crocodile... Let’s see... 800? 1000?
Are you crazy?
Where would I find 800 francs?
So how much did you pay?
When you get an idea!
Less than 200. Impressed?
You bet.
March 1964.
Clouzot and his crew set up shop at the Boulogne Studios for a few days
for the first camera tests.
Tests that would in fact go on for several months.
When we started doing all these tests,
on a low budget as there were so few of us,
we weren’t planning on making a film like that.
I can’t remember exactly when,
but one day we saw arrive
five or six people from the United States.
They were the heads of Columbia
and they asked to see the first tests.
After the screening, after seeing the tests,
they said “Unlimited budget”.
That’s when the film took on a gigantic dimension that was never planned.
I walked into something totally insane,
which were Clouzot’s tests.
It came as a total shock to me...
Having worked on French films
of the most conventional and traditional kind,
I was suddenly thrust
into a weird mix
where all the elements of traditional cinema,
with the best cameramen and the most seasoned technicians,
all busy doing the weirdest things.
It immediately became clear to me
that they had no idea what they were doing.
He went off into a world of tests
that was completely new to French cinema.
It was a mystery. And when there’s mystery, there’s irony.
When people don’t understand,
they get ironic instead of trying to understand.
But it was pretty amazing.
They expected something exceptional to come out of it.
With Clouzot, it could only be exceptional.
What’s interesting in Inferno
and what makes it, if not a unique project,
at least a very rare one in the history of cinema
is that the means, the money,
weren’t there to provide 100,000 horsemen,
and built huge sets.
Again, it was a small film in a way.
The money was there to give a creative artist,
Clouzot in this case,
the possibility of freely experimenting,
of trying different ideas, see if they worked or not.
There was something else.
At some moment in the film,
he sees his wife on the lake,
in a rowboat with someone.
He thinks there’s something going on with this someone.
And the reality changes.
The lake, which is normally blue, turns blood red.
It made quite an astonishing image.
Today, it’s easy to create an effect like that.
Back then, we didn’t want lab effects,
so we used colour inversion.
By shooting the normal way on regular film
the blue lake turned red.
But the rest had to remain normal.
Which means we had to make up the actors grey,
so that once reversed, they were pink.
We had to find clothing in complementary colours
so that once reversed, we had the right colours back.
It was a Herculean task.
We rarely had a chance to do tests like that.
We usually did only camera tests, and that was that.
But here we had the chance of doing tests,
shooting with film and seeing the results.
It was terrific.
In Inferno, the daily scenes are shot in black and white,
and Marcel’s visions and fantasies are shot in colour,
the improbable colours of madness.
To produce these “shock images”,
Clouzot could rely on two exceptional technicians:
Claude Leon, head of fabrication at LTC Labs,
who would stop the lab to do his enigmatic printing tests.
and Michel Deruelle, in charge of makeup,
who experimented in new ways:
actors covered in sequins or olive oil,
blue lipstick, multicolour makeup.
We worked in total freedom.
Clouzot let us do what we wanted.
He’d come to see us from time to time.
He was mostly friendly.
Rather nice, a bit sardonic at times maybe,
but not nasty.
And then, when the props were made,
without there ever being a precise completion date,
or a special rush for something,
he would test them and we’d try them out.
We had the impression
that he didn’t quite know what we were doing or why.
And he had the impression that
we were not trying hard enough that we were holding back.
So there was tension,
but nothing compared to what the actors had to endure.
Dozens of cans of colour tests,
visions and enigmatic obsessions, none of which exist in the script.
For endless days, in the heat of the Boulogne sound stages,
Clouzot tried to fit his actors into strange kinetic images.
We realised that Clouzot had a very special vision
of the objects on view.
I remember
there was one work made of triangles which came towards you.
There were a dozen triangles like that, completely modern.
Very quickly in the conversation,
while Winding was lighting, Clouzot said,
“No, Andreas, the left thigh should stay in the shadow.”
So he really saw something else, something very sexual
against something that apparently wasn’t.
I had become... I remember laughing about it...
I’d become the specialist of optical coitus.
He had me zoom in and out, faster and faster,
faster and faster, like in coitus, to reach the final orgasm.
We had no idea what this mass of tests would be used for.
Every evening, we’d meet to look at the rushes,
and we’d be fascinated and dazzled by things,
or bent over laughing,
because it was bungled, which happened plenty of times.
But this accumulation of all-out research
seemed to us a sort of reservoir
from which he could draw when it was time to build something.
June 1964.
The tests were over.
Thousands of meters of experiments
and a star, Romy.
Clouzot saw in her the sensual woman haunting her jealous husband’s dreams.
For Clouzot, she agreed to everything.
She chose to give him her trust, until the end,
as she had done for no other director before.
During these tests, I realised
that Clouzot was the most difficult director I’d ever met.
Difficult not in a negative way, he is never satisfied.
He’s a perfectionist. He wants every tone, light and gesture
to be exactly, down to every nuance, as he’d imagined it before.
I wondered, how will I stand 18 weeks of shooting with Henri-Georges?
6 July 1964.
Shooting begins at Garabit in the Cantal.
An ideal location: a remote hotel, a lake, a viaduct,
and, of course, trains.
Within a few days, the tourist hotel had a new face,
and the ambiance was less homey.
Like the crew,
gathered around Mario David, Bernard Paul and Dany Carrel,
they played hard and worked hard.
The local press announced the arrival of the top film stars,
who all would live here at the Hotel Garabit.
For weeks, art directors and construction crews had been at work.
The Hotel Garabit became the Hotel du Lac.
There would be four weeks of exteriors,
before the 14 weeks of studio at Boulogne.
Every angle had been filmed for a few seconds, for prior approval.
Everything was worked out.
Bernard Paul, the first assistant, didn’t mind filling bit parts.
Now they had to work very fast.
In exactly 20 days, the artificial lake, filled a few years earlier,
would be emptied by Electricité de France
to supply electricity to the region.
After that no pickup shots would be possible.
Clouzot was well aware of that.
There were other hotels, other railways along other lakes.
But this was Clouzot’s dream site.
He would work fast, with all the means he needed.
But here comes another train, always on schedule,
which makes the viaduct’s metal structure rumble.
Buses and tourists go by, and always that unreal rumbling,
which each time triggers Marcel’s anxiety attacks and jealousy.
The shooting took on proportions that were truly Hollywood-like.
Three camera crews,
and not just anyone.
Armand Thirard,
who’d shot Quai des Orfèvres, Retour à la vie, Manon...
The Wages of Fear.
Claude Renoir, who’d done Le Mystère Picasso.
Andreas Winding.
Top cameramen, Florent, Dumaitre.
He even brought in Louis Née,
Thirard’s old cameraman.
Née had been cameraman on Dreyer’s Joan of Arc.
We called him “millimetre frame edge”.
Every cameraman had a complete crew.
Cameraman, first assistant, second assistant.
Key grip, plus two or three grips, chief electrician.
It was an army, not to mention the extras and all that.
We couldn’t all eat in a single shift.
We had to have two shifts for lunch. There were so many people.
You got mail?
A letter from my brother.
Where is he now?
In Germany.
Germany?
The stamps are for my dressmaker’s son.
- Going out? - To Mum’s.
Again?
I told you, she’s sick. I promised to help her.
You told me?
The doctor was right. You need help.
My bus! Tell him I’m coming. See you tonight.
Eugène, my wife will be right down.
Still, what nerve!
Writing to her at my hotel.
I wonder...
I’m not mad, my girl.
No...
I’m not mad.
Not mad at all... No, girl, I’m not mad.
I’m not mad. Not mad. Not at all mad.
No way!
Get that into your head. I’m neither a monster nor a madman.
I’m neither a monster...
Nor a madman.
So what exactly did happen at the Hotel Garabit?
A handful of people shut up in a hotel in a valley,
a hugely ambitious film,
and crews who knew less and less what was going on.
In reality as in the fiction,
the elements of a strange drama were falling into place.
Everyone who was close to him,
continuity-girls, directors of photography, cameramen,
all the people who had to scout locations after the day’s shooting,
had the right to live there.
I took the opportunity to rent a house a few miles from the hotel.
I said “Take my room. I’ll gladly let you have it.”
Because he had the bad habit of waking people at 2 a.m.,
as he was an insomniac, to discuss the next day’s work schedule.
I wasn’t keen on that sort of thing.
I remember one thing that always made me laugh.
He couldn’t stand us not working on Sundays.
He didn’t want us to stop.
He wanted to keep on supposedly scouting locations.
Clouzot would wait in the hotel lobby for the first cameraman to come by
and he’d say “Let’s go take a look” and off they’d go.
Claude Renoir had no desire to go.
So he’d go into the toilets and climb out the little window.
Clouzot was a bit odd. His assistant went nuts.
Clouzot would call him at 3 a.m. when he’d suddenly have an idea.
And as Clouzot was an insomniac, he wouldn’t let anyone sleep.
No one among those close to him
making the film with him, for him, at the same time as him.
Everyone was exhausted.
Unable to sleep, he couldn’t stand others sleeping.
So when he suddenly had an idea,
you had to be on the ball and take notes.
For him, we had to be there around the clock.
We’d stick with him. When he got up, we had to be there.
At breakfast, we were there.
We were stuck to him. We were his things.
We were his fingers, we were his respiration.
I’m not crazy, my girl. Oh, no.
I’m not crazy...
Soft, normal or firm hold...
At the mike Robert Védal.
Yesterday, the UN convened in New York
in a special session to debate a problem left pending for too long:
territorial waters.
The debates ended sooner than expected...
This is Marcel Auffret reporting from New York.
Yesterday, the United Nations Organisation
met in a special session...
There you are at last!
Yes, I almost missed you. I’d have been sorry.
- You should have seen my face. - Poor dear! Show me, quick!
- Look! - It’s gorgeous!
And now we’ll take a commercial break.
Sensational discount on crocodile bags!
A gift from her sweetheart. A handbag for a pair of...
Brown a large amount of onions in oil...
To make it spicier you can add my little darling...
Yesterday afternoon went by like a flash.
He may not be a pâtissier, but the icing on the cake...
Attention, citizens of Barbezieux!
An envelope containing a key chain
has been lost in the main street of your city.
This envelope has nothing written on it.
Naturally. What a nerve!
Writing to my hotel. I wonder...
The address is written in a woman’s hand...
He had his secretary write the address.
Isn’t he clever!
The girlfriend set it all up.
The snack. The iron-clad alibi.
Marcel?
What are you doing here?
As you can see... Waiting for Mum.
The Credit Union called.
Credit Union?
It’s nowhere around here. Where’s the car?
Joan of Arc Square.
At the bus station?
I see.
I can’t believe this. You’re following me.
Why would I follow you?
Hard to say why a shooting goes wrong.
The film was progressing, but slowly.
Despite a tight schedule, Clouzot spent hours on certain scenes,
re-shooting a few sequences over and over.
He was increasingly fussy.
He seemed anxious, nervous.
His three crews were ready. Always ready...
But ready for what?
Theoretically, it was smart.
It could work.
But in practice, it was catastrophic.
Theoretically, you had crew number one
preparing shot number one.
Clouzot of course was there to do the shot.
Afterwards, as in any film, you have to prepare.
So during the preparation, he was to see crew number two.
And with crew number two, he’d set up shot number two.
Except that in practice,
he’d go in the morning to see crew number one and wouldn’t budge.
He didn’t feel like it. He wanted to see the preparation,
so the others did nothing but wait, having nothing to do.
He didn’t even know the shot.
It was like that almost every day.
I think no one really understood
why this film mobilised such means
and finally never got anywhere.
There was always some reason we had to stop at a given moment,
and it went on forever without producing any real results.
I remember the crew arriving at 7 or 7.30 in the morning.
Everyone was there,
and we were often there till 10 p.m.
Waiting or changing a scene.
It’s weird. He was so efficient in the past.
When you look at Quai des Orfèvres,
it’s a film made with incredible precision.
There’s not a thing out of place.
It’s superb craftsmanship.
But this time,
he’d remain there for long minutes next to the camera.
He seemed a bit lost.
Marcel, what is it?
What happened to you?
An accident? Are you sick?
Answer me. Is it serious?
I’m fine, leave me alone.
Where were you?
Don’t just stand there. You’re scaring me.
Can’t I help you?
Marcel...
My poor Odette. I know everything. I saw you and Martineau on the river.
So what if you did?
I’ve had it. I’m done with talking.
I followed you! Isn’t that enough?
No?
On the island, did you play cat’s cradle?
Is that why you took off like a lunatic?
Is that why I trembled all day and you made yourself sick?
Sure, we got off on the island. I needed to rest.
- Lying in the grass? - No, standing on one leg!
Look at me, you dope.
Don’t you see I love you?
That I’m your wife?
Look at my eyes, Aren’t they pretty?
It’s your fault. It’s because of you I cried all afternoon.
I told myself...
“What if he doesn’t come back? If something happened?”
It’d be the end of me, too. I had decided that.
Odette...
Leave me alone!
You don’t love me.
If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.
I wanted to die, too.
My poor darling.
Is it true?
Did you really think that?
Did it hurt you so much?
But it’s all over.
It’s over.
Never again.
Promise me, Marcel.
I love you so much.
Hold me. Hold me closer.
Closer.
Romy Schneider was a huge star.
A “vedette” as they called them. She wouldn’t be pushed around.
On top of which, the actors arrived a bit tense
because they knew Clouzot’s reputation
of being hard on the actors.
They said he was cynical, that he tortured you.
That was part of his image.
He wanted his ideas to come through his actors,
that the actors translate and interpret his ideas.
Not always easy,
especially with strong personalities like Reggiani,
who had his own vision of himself
and the character he was asked to play.
Reggiani was biased against Clouzot.
I remember him sniggering, which exasperated Clouzot.
He was always in opposition
and you could feel that his attitude was
“I won’t be had, I won’t be had by Clouzot.
“I know La Clouze”, as he called him,
“and I won’t be pushed around.”
Relations between Reggiani and Clouzot were rather tense.
I don’t know what it was, but they had something to settle.
He had to run behind a camera car, for miles and miles, all day long.
He couldn’t take anymore.
If you do it with an actor you don’t do it ten times,
or else you do a test with him and that’s it.
But here, he wore him out. He was dead tired.
He drove people so hard, that they...
They either broke down or...
And if they did, he was happy.
He’d say “Good, let’s shoot!”
Inferno, 390A, take 7.
I’m jealous.
Jealous.
Jealous of who? Of what?
I don’t know, but it’s killing me.
Sometimes, I feel like jumping out the window.
We can’t go on like this all night.
If you won’t be reasonable, I’ll be for us two.
My going into town worries you?
Okay... I won’t go.
Never?
Never. Feel better now?
Yes.
Of course, it’s too late now.
What’s done is done.
What did I do?
Why ask me? On the island, were you eating candy?
I told you, I was tired, I rested.
You rested for half an hour?
Five minutes.
Not true. You went off at 11.30. I arrived at 12. You’d just got up.
- It took time to get there. - With a speedboat?
We stopped on the way back. For the last time,
We left at 11.30. I skied to the dam.
We stopped at the island on the way back.
For a roll in the grass.
I’d just lain down when the bells rang.
You’re lying. I’ve had enough of your lies!
Now tell me the truth. Answer me, now!
Yes, I slept with Martineau.
Not only on the island, everywhere!
At his house, in the car, in his bed, in your bed.
While you were at the market.
We couldn’t get enough.
There. Happy now?
Henri-Georges would yell, of course.
Serge never yelled.
He’d leave.
Romy would yell and Henri-Georges would yell.
So it created...
When they’d both yell, we onlookers knew why.
When Henri-Georges yelled at Serge, we knew why.
But when Serge walked off, we didn’t know why.
As Clouzot cut himself off and kept revising his film,
the crews grew more and more impatient.
Christian de Chalonge, one of the assistants,
a key production figure,
couldn’t follow the rhythm of constant changes.
He suddenly walked off the set.
The film was behind schedule, way behind.
The rhythm had to pick up.
The lake would be drained within days.
But Clouzot wouldn’t listen.
He kept re-doing dialogue and scenes already shot.
And despite the general confusion,
his directing of the actors became increasingly demanding.
When shooting a film,
you can’t totally escape the notion of productivity.
It’s impossible.
So we’d think “Does he really want to finish this film?”
Clouzot was alone. He alone called the tune.
On the script it said “written, directed and produced by...”
He was the architect of the entire undertaking.
What the film lacked the whole time was a producer.
I don’t mean a producer as a watchdog,
but a producer as someone to speak to,
to confront, sometimes to clash with.
Otherwise you go off on wild tangents, you indulge yourself.
In the end, you no longer know what you’re after.
Come now...
Calm down...
You’re in your room...
Safe...
Nothing’s happened...
Nothing...
I don’t believe it...
It’s not true...
It’s not true...
It’s not possible...
Precisely...
Details... Precisions...
Calm down.
They’ll want explanations.
Details... Why? How?
On 20 June, the crew awoke to the news that Reggiani had left.
Suffering from pains for several days,
he had walked off the set, never to return.
There was talk of Maltese Fever.
They had to start over again,
and Clouzot had to find another actor and fast.
It was the end of a day’s shooting.
Late afternoon.
It must have been...
something that had been simmering all along,
let’s be clear about that.
This time it was too much.
And Serge said he wasn’t there
to be insulted and yelled at by a schizophrenic maniac,
that he was leaving and screw it.
Clouzot threatened legal action.
Reggiani said “Screw it.” That’s what it came down to.
He had a mysterious illness,
which wasn’t surprising coming from Reggiani.
And people were saying that he had been so tense,
that he was trying to steel himself, before anything could happen,
he was so wound up against Clouzot
that it brought about a nervous reaction.
I don’t know which theory was right, Maltese Fever or semi-depression.
He had consciously taken the risk of searching,
but with 100 people around him.
It was a courageous enterprise, but an extremely risky one.
Every director has had this experience
when you suddenly don’t know what to do.
You have the crew around you.
If they like you and respect you they’ll wait, they trust you.
They say “He’ll find it.” But you’re under pressure.
He deliberately put himself in danger.
To replace Serge Reggiani,
Clouzot brought Jean-Louis Trintignant to Garabit.
A brief encounter. What happened between them?
After a few days, Trintigant left without shooting a single shot.
So for a few more days,
Clouzot wrote new scenes and shots every night
for the actors he had at hand.
New visions.
New nightmares for Marcel.
The main thing was to shoot. Shoot until the end.
A few more images.
Clouzot was shooting a scene on a boat,
a small boat on the lake.
There were two women, I think,
Dany Carrel and Romy Schneider.
It was a scene where the two women were kissing.
He was there, smoking his pipe.
We were very close, three or four metres.
And suddenly there were a lot of people rushing over.
Clouzot had suffered a heart attack.
They called an ambulance and he was taken to the hospital.
It all happened very quickly.
I have the feeling that this was the general opinion
at a dinner we had at St Flour.
Several actors were there, including Romy Schneider.
And she said that to her mind...
it came at the right moment, he couldn’t have gone on much longer.
Things were going too badly.
He taught me what other directors before and since taught me.
You have to see your madness through.
You have to take responsibility to the end.
At some point, everyone wonders “Where’s he going?”
“Into a wall.”
That’s the moment when you have to keep going.
I don’t much believe in inspiration.
I believe there’s a job to do every day
and from time to time, ideas do or don’t come.
It’s like a seed you plant in the earth.
Every day, you water it and whatever grows will grow.
And there’s no point pulling the stem to make it grow faster.
If you do, you uproot it and that’s that!
In 1968 Clouzot made one last film, La Prisonnière,
experimenting again with kinetic art.
He died in 1977 and remains one of cinema’s greats.
Subtitles 2010 by Peoples Republic for KG