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Descent Into Hell (1986) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • The marriage of the famous writer Alan and his young wife Lola is in a crisis. On a vacation in Haiti Lola wants to decide if their relationship still has a future. But since Alan doesn't succeed with his new book and gets deeper and deeper into alcoholism, she soon starts an affair. While deeply drunk, Alan kills a black who wanted to rob him...


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Synopsis

  • Alan Kolber is a middle-aged French crime novelist married to Lola, a young woman half his age. Their marriage has reached a low point and they go to Haiti for a holiday. Alan is an alcoholic and Lola is trying to get some passion back into her life. To that end she begins an affair with a man closer to her own age. Discovering this, Alan goes to a bar to drown his sorrows. Drunk, he stagers back to the hotel only to be attacked by a mugger. Alan fights back and kills his attacker with a broken bottle.

    Alan gets back to the hotel room with his clothes covered in blood. He confesses everything to Lola who takes the clothes away and burns them. The next flight back to France is not due for some time so they try to maintain the pretence of normality by continuing their sight-seeing. However they are approached by Lucette Beulemans, a white ex-pat shop-keeper, and her lover Theophile Bijou. They reveal that they witnessed the murder and have the broken bottle with Alan's fingerprints. The fact that he did not report the killing himself means that claiming that it was self-defence will be somewhat unconvincing. The bottle will only be returned for $50,000.

    Lola sets about getting the money by contacting her wealthy relatives and later selling her jewellery and other valuable items to Mrs Burns, a fellow hotel guest.

    Alan meanwhile learns that the police has arrested a young man called Eustache for the murder. Guilt ridden, he goes to the local police station to confess, but the police chief rejects his claims on the grounds that he already has the killer in custody and that Alan is just one of a number of people who have "confessed" to the crime. The chief tells Alan that it is up to him to provide evidence of his own guilt !

    Unaware of what Alan is trying to do, Lola gets together the money, hands it over to Lucette and tosses the broken bottle into the sea. She has recently been plagued by nightmares of herself being chased in the Paris metro by a man who wears lipstick something she has always refused to wear herself.

    Alan meanwhile learns that Eustache is in fact the son of Lucette's lover Theophile, though he walked out on the boy's mother shortly after he was conceived. The mother further reveals that her son is gay and has been jailed because the chief of police wants Eustache's boyfriend for himself ! Alan then finds Theophile who reveals that he has been double-crossed by Lucette, who has disappeared with the money, the bottle, everything. Alan tells Theophile that the best thing to do now is to go to the police and for Theophile to reveal that he witnessed the murder.

    Presumably driven mad by Lucette's betrayal or fearful of being jailed for blackmail, Theophile instead tries to strangle Alan who fights back and both are seriously injured in the fight.

    Lola meanwhile is back at the hotel where she is still plagued by the dream of being chased in the metro by the lipstick-wearing man. She even goes to the bar and orders the same drinks as her husband, presumably intending to get drunk as well. At that moment Alan calls her from Theophile's house begging for help.

    The two men are admitted to hospital where Theophile is kept under police guard. Applying lipstick for the first time in a long while, Lola reveals to Alan that years ago she was almost raped in the metro by the man with lipstick but fought back by stabbing him in the crotch with his own knife. This confession and the recent events help to bring them closer together.

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