by Dan Gibson
There are only three nights left in the Loft Film Festival, and then you'll be back to your generally film-festival-less life, stuck watching Lifetime movies at home. The lesson is: Enjoy the festival while you can.
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno (6 p.m.):
In 1964, French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot (Diabolique, The Wages of Fear) set out to direct Inferno, a tale of jealousy and madness starring Romy Schneider and Serge Reggiani. The film was envisioned as a fiercely original, audaciously experimental project with an unlimited budget and free reign for Clouzot; a film with “cinematic event” written all over it. But after only three weeks of shooting, the production ground to a halt, and the images, rumored to be “incredible,” were shelved. Unseen by anyone, Clouzot’s mad movie provocation was now destined to become a footnote in film history, a legendary “what if?” project that was never meant to be. However, the surviving test footage was recently unearthed, and it proved to be even more breathtaking than the legend had predicted. Fleshed out with rediscovered storyboards, photographs and production records, plus interviews with crew members (including Cosa-Gavras), the test footage and rushes (a riot of Op Art abstractions and psychedelic visuals, not to mention a stunningly photographed Romy Schneider, who never looked more beautiful) reveal the outlines of a lost treasure. This thrilling documentary explores what happened to Clouzot’s mysteriously aborted labor of love, tantalizing us with what might have been. Would the film have been the masterpiece Clouzot intended? It’s a question that will remain forever unanswered …
I Killed My Mother (8:30 p.m.):
Much has been made of the youth of Xavier Dolan, the writer/director/star of I KILLED MY MOTHER, but the true value of his vision is its freshness; of course, it’s all the more impressive because he was 20 years old when he made the film. The slick, Wong Kar-Wai-inspired visuals mix well with the film’s greatest strength, the screenplay, which realistically depicts the way in which two people who know each other so well, in this case a son and his mother, can hurt each other with such ease. In addition to his other talents, as gay teenager Hubert, Dolan exhibits a confidence as an actor that is remarkable to watch. His performance evokes the multiple strained relationships in his life, and he bravely portrays the character, based largely on himself, as often unlikeable. Though it will be exciting to see what Dolan has in store in the future, I KILLED MY MOTHER is itself an impressive film.