Sunday, April 30, 2006

Title:Hell (L'Enfer)
Cast: Emmanuelle Béart, Karin Viard, Marie Gillain, Guillaume Canet, Jacques Gamblin, Pierre
Jacques Perrin, Carole Bouquet, Miki Manojlovic, Georges Siatidis

Director: Danis Tanovic

L'Enfer is the story of 3 women. Sophie, Anne and Cecile. 3 sisters, though the stories unfold independently for the most part. Only in the end do we start to see the connections and the reasons behind events. Sophie is married with kids and lives in her parents house, but her life is falling apart as her husband is cheating on her. Anne is having an affair with a married man, but her life is falling apart as he has just dumped her in favour of his family. Cecile is the one that visits their mother, wheelchair bound and mute, and she appears to have picked up a stalker.

As the film progresses the characters act out their personal tragedies, their own domestic little hells. The film starts with their father being released from prison, but until we know exactly what happened between the father and the mother we don't really understand. Then everything falls into place, the actions of each of the girls echoing the past by degrees. Perpetuating the tragedy, and with references to Medea, revenge and the consumption of children, giving it a mythic edge. Of course in turn this makes events more pathetic, the characters fighting to turn the tide, already trapped by repetition for all their efforts.

The Polish born writer/director Krzysztof Piesiewicz is most well known for his Three colours trilogy - Red, White and Blue. But before his death he worked on a second trilogy - Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. The first film Heaven was directed by German director Tom Twyker, his first film in English it was set in Italy and had an Australian (Cate Blanchett) and American (Giovanni Ribisi) cast. The second film Hell is by director Danis Tanovic, the Bosnian director who was responsible for the film No Man's Land. Like the Three Colours, Tanovic's contribution to Piesiewicz's series is in French, featuring the well known actress Emmanuelle Béart (8 Women, Nathalie, etc), Guillaume Canet (Love Bites, Love Me If You Dare), and the naggingly familiar Marie Gillain. While Heaven features explosions and helicopters, and bares the stylistic marks of Twyker, Hell is a more straightforward affair, and you wouldn't know the two were related at all.

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