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Huis Clos (12A*)

Hidden Figures: Jacqueline Audry

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 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 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. 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.

The screening of Huis Clos on Tue 20 July will have an introduction.

France 1954 Dir Jacqueline Audry 95 min

Barbican Cinema has been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England which is administered by the BFI, as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund supporting arts and cultural organisations in England affected by the impact of Covid-19. #HereForCulture.

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