Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jean Rollin: The Collaborators (Renan Polles)

Requiem for a Vampire’s beautiful, poetic and stately photography is credited to Renan Polles, a talented French cinematographer who sometimes goes under the name of Jacques Flood. Astonishingly Requiem for a Vampire marks just the second major photography credit the gifted Polles, with the first being a 1969 short for director Jean-Michel Barjol.
Polles had worked previously with Rollin as part of the camera crew on Le Frisson des Vampires. Sadly, despite the excellent work he does on his first feature as cinematographer, Requiem for a Vampire would mark the last time Polles would work with Rollin, as the director would return to Jean-Jacques Renon soon after.
While Polles’ work on Requiem doesn’t contain quite the degree of fantastical greatness (especially in the lighting) that Renon had delivered for Le Frisson, there is still no denying that Polles work is quality stuff. Rollin himself would remember Polles fondly in Encore's Requiem for a Vampire booklet by saying that he, "was pleased with the work made by Polles, who'd taken Jean-Jacques Renon's place because the latter was unavailable." Polles balances the film’s wide open early outdoor daylight shots with the film’s later more interior and nightime atmosphere spectacularly well and his work helps make Requiem for a Vampire one of Rollin’s most distinctive looking films. Much more naturalistic than Renon, it’s no surprise that one of the filmmakers Polles is most associated with is Jacques Doillon, a director very much removed from the fantasy and horror genre that Rollin specializes in.

Polles filmography includes films with Doillon and Yvan Lagrange and he has continued to work prolifically in French and film and television. Despite only collaborating twice with Rollin, his work on Requiem for a Vampire makes him an important contributor to the French horror genre and a key, if relatively minor, player in Jean Rollin's canon.


Keith said...

Thanks for that bit of information. I really didn't know anything about this man. It's nice to learn more about the people that have worked with Rollin.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Keith, I am enjoying doing a little digging to find the info out. It's all fascinating.