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L'enfer - hell is other people,
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This review is from: Hell [DVD] (DVD)
This movie spends its first half refusing to link the disparate threads.
The film starts with a 30 second sequence of a young girl bursting into an adult's office unannounced to see him with a naked boy. This is followed by an amazing rich red kaleidoscopic title sequence narrating the reproductive strategy of a cuckoo. The titles are bookended by the same man being released from prison.
Then, totally unlinked to the former, and each other, are the narratives of the three central women. One suspecting her husband of adultery, the second socially withdrawn, and the youngest, a student, rejected by a professor after a fling on a field trip to the Acropolis.
So how do these scenarios tie together into a coherent whole, and inform the title of the movie? Its a tall order, that is expertly met by Tanovic. We are led through the difficulties of the women's respective lives before any connections are made. At the same time we are fed intellectual ideas about fate and chance; and parallels with tragic Greek heroes. So much energy is fed into weaving an elaborate tale, there is a tendency to lose contact with the emotional turmoil afflicting the individuals.
The film is of a high technical standard in all departments. Most of the shots and sequences are lovingly committed to celluloid. The circular tower stairway sequence is expert and memorable. A couple of hours well spent on an intelligent, visually splendid, and engaging French film.