Post-apocalypse films comprise a fertile sub-genre of British and American science fiction. Ecological and nuclear catastrophes and their disastrous consequences, how survivors organise themselves, and a return to barbarism have often inspired screenwriters, from the 1960s Cold War (Ray Milland’s Panic in Year Zero) to the present day (The Road, based on the wonderful Cormac McCarthy novel) via George Miller’s hit Mad Max 2, which spawned innumerable imitations. Hell continues this tradition, but is distinguished by being Swiss, and being directed by Tim Fehlbaum, a young filmmaker from Basel, for whom this is a first feature.
The film focuses on a small group of people surviving in a landscape that has become a scorching desert following a wave of solar storms. The search for fuel and water is endless, and both bodies and vehicles must be protected from the fatal rays of the sun. However the greatest threat is from their fellow men, and surprise attacks from hordes of pillagers who have gone feral, scouring roads and forests. Tim Fehlbaum demonstrates a real talent in creating an end of the world atmosphere from everyday settings and the excellent cast spans several generations, from Stipe Erceg to Angela Winkler.
The film is a Swiss-German co-production and the credits feature such prestigious names as Ruth Waldburger (producer of La Petite Chambre, the Swiss hit discovered at Locarno last year, and also of films by Godard, Tarr…) and Roland Emmerich (the great specialist of cinematic apocalypse), executive producer of an entertainment that is guaranteed to soothe your fears about 2012.Olivier Père