L'Enfer (2005)

L'Enfer (2005)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

L'Enfer Photos

Movie Info

Director Danis Tanovic picks up where the late-Krzysztof Kieslowski left off by taking on the second installment of Kieslowski's "Heaven," "Hell," and "Purgatory" trilogy (the first was adapted by Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer) with this tale of a family whose dark past returns with a vengeance. Loosely modeled by screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz on the second act of Dante's Inferno, Hell tells the story of sisters Sophie (Emmanuelle Béart), Céline (Karin Viard), and Anne (Marie Gillain), whose lives were turned upside down when their father was imprisoned and their mother was rendered a wheelchair-bound mute. As the estranged sisters are slowly brought back together by a mysterious and handsome stranger who is somehow involved with the tragic events of the past, the questions that had for years gone unanswered slowly begin to drift into focus. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:


Karin Viard
as Céline
Carole Bouquet
as The Mother
Guillaume Canet
as Sébastien
Jacques Perrin
as Frédéric
Miki Manojlovic
as The father
Gaëlle Bona
as Joséphine
Georges Siatidis
as Ticket Inspector
Serge-Henri Valcke
as Bookseller
Tiffany Tougard
as Céline As a Child
Marie Loboda
as Sophie As a Child
Emma Cuzon
as Anne As a Child
Julian Ciais
as Sébastien As a Child
Françoise Bertin
as Neighbour
Louis-Marie Audubert
as Hotel Receptionist
Arnaud Churin
as Man in Hotel Room
Jean-Louis Barcelona
as Newspaper Seller
Candide Sanchez
as Café Waiter Serving Anne
Élodie Hesme
as Shop Assistant
Tatiana Gontcharova
as Phone Box Woman
Patrick Paroux
as Taxi Driver
Olivier Claverie
as Professor
Eric Naggar
as Professor
Jean-Marc Bihour
as Barman Serving Céline
Emmanuelle Cosso
as Gynaecologist's Secretary
Jérôme Le Paulmier
as College Café Staff
Neil Ounaïs
as Philippe
Thomas Broustet
as Frédéric's Older Son
Isidore Renting
as Frédéric's Younger Son
Esther Gorintin
as Old Lady
Camille Roche
as Girl Playing Hopscotch
Margaux Roche
as Girl Playing Hopscotch
Francesca Stirbu
as Girl Playing Hopscotch
Luc Favrou
as Priest
Mme. Guillemin
as Nursing Home Taxi Driver
Yvon Bernard
as Young Married Man
Cathy Neimark
as Young Married Woman
Cyril Ryckermen
as Photographer's Assistant
Pauline Reinert
as Girl in Photo
Amandine Decroix
as Girl in Photo
Joel Templeur
as Lad Chatting With Anne in Café
Jean-Claude Roger
as Man With Newspaper in Café
Elodie Rousseau
as Train Passenger
Paula Onclin
as Train Passenger
Brigitte Belle
as Woman in Hotel Room
Marion Aydalot
as Woman in Bed
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for L'Enfer

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

A decidedly cold, protracted work marked by solid, but passionless performances and a preference for polished, fashion-magazine imagery.

Full Review… | September 13, 2005
Top Critic

For all its literary references, the thing certainly looks like a shallow though slick French melodrama.

September 9, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

The spectre of Kieslowski flutters through the film, but his eye and touch aren't there%u2014it's hard to watch L'Enfer without wondering, what would he have done?

December 1, 2006
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

The characters fascinate yet confuse. Surprisingly, the film keeps us at arms length. On reflection, I enjoyed the film more after it had finished, when I could dip back into this claustrophobic world and relive the unfolding of events in my mind.

Full Review… | June 4, 2006
Urban Cinefile

Tanovic turns the drama of three damaged sisters... into a full-blooded opera with performances to match.

June 4, 2006

A multi-layered tale that's as compelling on a surface level as it is laden with food-for-thought underneath.

Full Review… | September 12, 2005

Audience Reviews for L'Enfer

The second instalment of Kieslowski Purgatory trilogy only leaves you wishing the Polish master were still alive and kicking with an annoying score that might still have him turning on his grave. RIP Kieslowski, you are still missed!

Héliø Leønardø
Héliø Leønardø

Hell (L'Enfer as it's known in its native France) is the second film in a planned trilogy that began with the underrated Heaven directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi, based upon scripts by the late, great Krzsztof Kieslowksi (the Three Colours trilogy). The two films share little in common aside from their 'unclassifiableness' and their emotional power.

A difficult film to analyse, Hell, directed by Academy Award winner Danis Tanovic (No Man's Land) is overflowing with ideas concerning philosophy, psyche, and emotional detachment and yet is still accessible, unpretentious and, whilst it takes itself necessarily seriously, it is also sometimes blackly funny. There's an exceptional eye for detail that's appropriately worthy of Kieslowski himself; even the opening credits concerning the plight of a bird and the eggs she is watching is gripping and gives the first insight into some of the horror that lies ahead. Although, in all probability, as with Heaven, the title is meant to be ironic, for despite some excellently shot shocks, a pervading sense of dread and a creepily effective final scene, there is some hope to the characters' lives as the film unwinds its secrets.

Stunning cinematography, a thoughtful color scheme (each story thread seems to have its own tone), featuring a nicely dramatic music score and complimented by a trio of leading French actresses giving nuanced performances (Emmanuelle Béart, Karin Viard and Marie Gillain), Hell is very impressive.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

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