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Huis Clos (12A*) + Introduction by Alex Davidson

Hidden Figures: Jacqueline Audry

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two women sitting in a lounge-like room

'Hell is other people' – Jacqueline Audry adapts Jean-Paul Sartre’s play and creates a ruthless yet droll, splendidly acted vision of humanity and the afterlife.

Two women and a man find themselves in a lavish hotel foyer and are allocated to their room. As they realise that they are condemned to spend the afterlife with each other, they are taunted by visions of their lives, as those that knew them react to their deaths. Audry opens up Sartre’s play to show the characters’ previous liaisons to devastating effect, while retaining the claustrophobic intensity of the original.

A sharp turn away from the period melodramas that made her name, Audry emphasises the black humour of Sartre’s existentialist play, and elicits tremendous performances from her cast. Gaby Sylvia stars as a hopelessly romantic woman with a dark secret and Frank Villard plays a feckless reporter. Best of all is Arletty, who tears the screen apart as an acid-tongued lesbian who delights in taunting her fellow guests.

France 1954 Dir Jacqueline Audry 95 min

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