June 28 2020

>> watch L'ENFER in full

The director Henri Clouzot tried to make a film called L'Enfer in 1964, a massively ambitious and eventually totally doomed undertaking, the production collapsed after hours of repetitive experimental screen testing, tensions between actors and crew and Clouzot's own eventual heart attack. The film's plot centered on a jealous husband's complete mental collapse into deluded, paranoid fantasy. The descent into madness that the film looked to depict seemed like it had seeped into its production.

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Jealousy is a visceral emotion. The sensation of being driven to distraction and loss of control is akin to slipping down the rabbit hole, a decent into hell. Everything once stable and fixed is questioned. Safety morphs into paranoia. Perception of reality becomes unfixed. Full collapse.

In L'Enfer, Clouzot explored this with lurid, psychedelic, experimental lighting effects that juxtaposed the majority of scenes shot on black and white film. It always reminded me of films like Gaspar Noe's Enter The Void where the characters float outside of their bodies in a haze of DMT smoke and neon city lights. 

The sensations of a descent into drug fuelled madness or jealous delusion seem like they run parallel. Messy, out of control nights where everything slowly slips out of reach and you feel like a passenger in your own head, watching the night unfold and descend, powerless to change it. Along for the ride.

I love the Lynne Ramsey film Morven Callar, the club and party scenes with strobe lights and Samantha Morten's terrifying intense eyes in the blackness are some of the best visual representation of drug fuelled isolation and chaos.

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Emotion that's experienced in the gut rather than the head always connects to baser, more primal impulses. It overrides logic. Jealousy can become an intense crucible for desire. Fucking the pain away. Obsession and desperation fuelled intensity. 

This film is an exploration of these ideas. It sits adjacent to L'Appel Du Vide so we gave it the French title so they can be sisters? Maybe we'll eventually make them into a THE VOID series where we explore the connections between emotion and desire? Who knows.

The pull of the void, the car crash, looking over the edge at the huge drop below, the thing that you know will hurt you but you can't look away from we're drawn to these things. Eroticising shame, guilt, discomfort and jealousy can be an important part of taking control of it.

Filming this was a whole lot of fun, it's the first film we shot in our new HQ so we just played The Birthday Party records and burned a lot of incense and messed around in the smoke with lights on sticks. With the amazing Parker Marx who is criminally underrepresented in this at the expense of "the concept". Parker is an incredible performer and I might put out a bonus extra of just Parker footage because it's hot and I think it's a shame to waste it.

I remember this was the first time I'd had to look into camera while shooting a Four Chambers film and finding the whole thing really unnerving and hot. Getting fucked while eye fucking someone else is an experience I would recommend and one I would like to repeat.

This is one of my favourite Four Chambers films we've made and one that gets passed over a lot, it's truly DIY all shot in my new house which was a building site at the time. All the effects are real and were made possible with masking tape, LEDs and sticks. I had to learn to look sexy while smoking cigarettes which failed 90% of the time. We laughed a lot.

The music we used is also a hidden gem, I found this SNOWMAN album on bandcamp and it's basically perfect beginning to end. They're disbanded now and I remember having to fight so hard for it to find a contact to ask them if I could license it. Essentially a whole concept album, snarly The Birthday Party surf guitars and visceral vocals. It really makes and sets the tone of this film.

I shot the very last of my FP100 polaroids in the fading long light of us in my spare room.
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Snowman - The Horse, The Rat and The Swan

Henri Clouzot - L'Enfer (unfinished) (1964)
Gaspar Noe - Enter the Void (2009)
Lynne Ramsey - Morven Callar (2002)

intense grabby sex, smoking, light cuckolding vibes