Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Hidden Cinema of Jean Rollin: Tout le monde il en a deux (1974)

The most widely seen of the Michel Gentil signed films, 1974’s Tout le monde il en a deux (also known as Bacchanales Sexuelles and Fly me the French Way) is an overlong, sluggish, sometime visually striking production that is more of a curiosity in Jean Rollin’s filmography rather than a successful film.

Shot fairly cheaply for producer Lionel Wallman in early 1974 between The Demoniacs and Lips of Blood, Tout le monde il en a deux would mark the final time Rollin would work with the delightful Joelle Coeur and the first time he would work with the iconic Annie Belle, who makes her big screen debut here under the name Annie Brilland. The film also features The Castel Twins in small roles (tragic that they were able to appear in this film and not The Demoniacs) as well as the ever-present Willy Braque.

The plot of Tout le monde il en a deux concerning a self proclaimed sorceresses named Madame Malvena, who is kidnapping young girls for use in her club of the ‘Admirers of Pure Flesh’ might have been interesting had it not been basically put in place to service a seemingly never ending series of over-long and poorly edited soft-core sexual encounters. For every visually enticing and interesting shot Rollin manages here (and there are some beautiful moments in the film) there a dozens of flat and unappealing moments that show a filmmaker who is clearly bored and, I would suspect, more than a little disappointed.

Outside of the films cast, who deserve better material, the main interest for Rollin’s fans will be the opportunity to get a great look at his own apartment where much of film was shot. Decorated with posters from his films and even some older props, these scenes will prove delightful to Rollin devotees, even though finally they serve as a reminder to how inferior this film is to Rollin’s previous work.

A couple of different versions of the film have been released. I have only seen the long version Wallman prepared under the title Bacchanales Sexuelles from Synapse Films, and have wondered if I would like the film more in its shorter version that Rollin had more of a hand in editing. That said, Synapse's DVD is fine and contains a fairly nice looking widescreen print of the film with optional English subtitles.

Jean Rollin recalled to Peter Blumenstock in Video Watchdog 31 that financially the film was “very successful”, but it is clear that it is not a film that he has a lot of fond feelings for. All but ignored in Virgins and Vampires and the one film in VSOM’s VHS series in the mid nineties Rollin declined to do an introduction for, Tout le monde il en a deux is more than anything else a reminder of a time Rollin had to sacrifice his personal visions for financial reasons. A better than average sox-core sexploitation film perhaps, but a disappointing work nonetheless.


ThatQuebecGuy said...

I really like your Hidden Cinema posts, too often do people ignore the "darker" side of Rollin's career! ;)

Keith said...

Cool post. I think I might have this on my Netflix queue.

P.S. Not trying to spam your blog at all, but I did a post on my Dino Lounge blog about some commercials that Sean "Diddy" Combs did for Ciroc Vodka using a Sinatra song. I hope you'll check out that post and leave me some comments there. Thanks.

Jeremy Richey said...

I might have been a bit hard on this film but it's just one that has never completely worked for me. I appreciate the comments.

Soukesian said...

These 'Hidden Cinema' posts are fascinating, particularly as these movies are so hard to see. The idea of Rollin doing erotica is intriguing - I have to know what these films are like, even if it turns out they aren't actually worth sitting through! Thanks for tracking them down on our behalf. And, you never know, maybe there's a previously undiscovered masterpiece in this material.