Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 9


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,102
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L'Enfer Photos

Movie Info

This French drama about the relationship between an insanely jealous man and his wife took 30 years to make. Since its inception by the late director Henri-Georges Clouzot the film was plagued with bad luck. He began filming it in 1964. There are only two characters in the film and on the third day of shooting the female lead became gravely ill. Later during rehearsals with a new actress, the director had a heart attack. Though he lived until 1977, he never got around to finishing it. The script was passed on to producer Marin Karmitz by Clouzot's widow. Paul wanted to buy the beautiful resort hotel he worked at for 15 years. His happy and spirited wife Nelly goes along with it. She is already a mother and contented with her life. Paul, who incurred tremendous debts to get the hotel, is not so happy. He is stressed to the breaking point. After he suspects his wife of philandering he slowly goes insane. He also begins increasing his consumption of alcohol and sleeping pills. Their lives become a living hell.

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Marc Lavoine
as Martineau
André Wilms
as Doctor Arnoux
Christiane Minazzoli
as Madame Vernon
Dora Doll
as Madame Chabert
Mario David
as Duhamel
Sophie Artur
as Clothilde
Noel Simsolo
as Mr. Charbert
Yves Verhoeven
as 15 Year Old Boy
Amaya Antolin
as Mariette
Jean-Claude Barbier
as Mr. Pinoiseau
Claire De Beaumont
as Madame Rudemont
Rene Gouzenne
as Mr. Ballandieu
Marie-Therese Izar
as Madame Pinoiseau
Dominique Jambert
as Young Woman
Jeromele Paulmier
as The Dim-Wit
Vincent Mangado
as Young Man
Francoise Meyruels
as The Pudgy Girl
Laurent Nassiet
as Little Boy in Cafe
Catherine Tacha
as Madame Point
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Critic Reviews for L'Enfer

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (9)

  • [Claude] Chabrol injects [Henri-George] Clouzot's dark, misanthropic tale with a soupçon of Hitchcock's voyeuristic obsessions and with his own empathy for the tormented husband.

    Mar 10, 2017 | Full Review…
  • It's a riveting study in psychological perversion done with a taut, razor-sharp style, by a witty director who is at the top-of-his game.

    Apr 24, 2004 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • A gripping and clever offering from one of Hitchcock's brightest heirs.

    Aug 13, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • Even if it is too much a stripped down genre piece to reach dizzying heights, L'Enfer does an admirable job of exploring the depths of one disturbed man's psyche.

    Jun 4, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for L'Enfer

  • Oct 02, 2011
    With the title <i>L'Enfer</i> (meaning <i>Hell</i>) and a story by famed French suspense master Henri-Georges Couzot, you cannot help but have some idea about what you're getting into. Paul works hard at managing his fledgling hotel and never gets enough sleep, and right at his side is his beautiful wife Nelly carrying her share of the load while raising their young son. Stress takes its toll on Paul as he begins hearing voices and suspects Nelly of straying into a young car mechanic's arms. And that's just for starters! <i>L'Enfer</i> follows the one-track mind of Paul and never deviates from the theme of jealousy. Over time we see Paul transform from a pitiable figure into a despicable monster, and apart from a couple wobbles Francois Cluzet capably handles the task. Emmanuelle Beart is even better as Nelly as she deftly handles a wide range from the radiantly bouncy bride to the confused & frightened subject of scorn. The further the movie goes, the more we see slightly modified replays of earlier scenes because of the single-minded nature of the screenplay. Still, director Chabrol achieves his goal of depicting a marriage completely crumbling through one man's inability to accept the keystone building block of trust.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2008
    L'Enfer (translated as "Hell") started life as a script by Henri-Georges Clouzot starring Romy Schneider but filming was stopped when Clouzot suffered a heart attack. Chabrol then got his hands on it and turned it into a semi successful study of one man's decent into madness. Things start of well for our main character (François Cluzet) he has a new wife, a young son and is running a successful hotel. Though soon enough he starts to suspect his wife of adultery (when his wife is the flirty Emmanuelle Béart who can blame him). As the film continues it becomes obvious that this man clearly has something wrong with him and is beoming more and more obsessed and paranoid. The ending was rather ambiguous, but even with the two good lead performances it's still rather average.
    Emily B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 18, 2008
    Seeing this makes me want to watch the available footage of Clouzot's Inferno and Schneider's interpretation of the role.
    Stefanie C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2005
    [font=Century Gothic]"La Belle Noiseuse" and "L'Enfer" are two French movies starring Emmanuelle Beart, directed by two very different directors who emerged from the French new wave, Jacques Rivette and Claude Chabrol, respectively.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=blue]"La Belle Noiseuse" starts out with a young artist and his wife, Marianne(Beart) visiting legendary artist, Frenhofer(Michel Piccoli), in the countryside. Frenhofer mentions a long abandoned project - La Belle Noiseuse, a painting of a 17th century courtesan. The young painter, Nicolas, offers his wife as a model without asking her. This of course angers her to no end but nonetheless she returns to pose the following morning. [/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=blue][/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=blue]I liked "La Belle Noiseuse" in that it tries to convey the artist-model relationship and how it evolved as the painting continued. It is a beautiful looking film and I especially liked it when it got both artist and model in the same frame. It also examined the relationship of an artist to his/her spouse and how self-involved the artist can get. So much so, that the spouse needs to find an individual life. Frenhofer's wife(Jane Birkin) seems to have a thriving taxidermy hobby on the side and Marianne may have found a path by the end of the movie. Emmanuelle Beart gives a very courageous performance.[/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=#0000ff][/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=red][/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=red]"L'Enfer" starts out with the marriage between a happy young couple, Paul(Francois Cluzet, who reminded me of a young Robert DeNiro) and Nelly(Emmanuelle Beart). Paul is the owner of a thriving resort hotel but the stress and lack of sleep is driving him to become very, very jealous of his wife. What we see is from Paul's point of view and thus we get to see his growing madness but I do not like the idea that madness can be used as an excuse for Paul's abusive behavior. By abusive, I mean that he tries to control Nelly's movements and I find that rather unpleasant. Plus, this is a shoddily shot movie.[/color][/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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