L’Enfer ::: Romy Mania

Posted in Uncategorized by strytllng on August 3, 2010

Yes, I know that within the last year there were more Romy Schneider documentaries, articles and books out than ever before but this extract of Romy Schneider in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s L’Enfer (Hell) shows a side of Romy that has to be searched for in any other of her works and is therefore worth watching again.

The unfinished movie should have been Schneider’s breakthrough as a serious actress in 1964 but instead the director suffered a heart attack and left the work unfinished. The extract above tells the mania fantasies of a hyperbolically jealous husband (played by Serge Reggiani) whose love for his beautiful wife turns to sick jealousy and leads him into madness. The wife, played by Romy Schneider, appears from a dreary black and white erotic fantasia (indicated by luscious gold dust) to a hypnotizing grotesque devilish caricature in colors and lightsettings that indicated a substance abuse problem with drugs in the 60s – but his drug is his wife. A negative  erotic power unseen in any other early Schneider movies especially in scenes of extreme close-ups with nearly no setting – just Romy and her power of image-shaping mimic and body language. Schneider has left her girl-next-door image with this movie and enlarged her repertoire as an actress to sex, violence and tension with large success.

Romy looks more beautiful than ever fighting her own inner real demons – the love that had left her and the following suicide attempt from which she had recovered. The movie which had never been released during her lifetime would have credited her as a serious actress three years before The Swimming Pool did. But that is just another irony in Romy’s infernal script of life.

Images are linked to their original sources.


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