Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Hidden Cinema of Jean Rollin: Vibrations Sexuelles (1977)

One of the most resonate moments in Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece Boogie Nights occurs towards the end when disillusioned Jack Horner asks his editor what his newest, made strictly for cash project, is like, with the reply being, “It is what it is.” That’s a bit how I feel about the couple of adult features I have in my collection that Rollin shot for purely financial reasons between 1976 and 1979. They are what they are, cheap if nice looking productions with little plot and little style. Rollin has himself called them awful and there is very little to distinguish them from any other like minded films from the period. Rollin was at his creative peak in the seventies and it’s a real crime that he he had to sacrifice his artistic vision because audiences and critics of the day didn’t see his value. The mighty Rollin did what he had to do though, but thankfully by 1978 he began to get financing again for his regular films.

Vibrations Sexuelles is arguably the most important film Rollin shot under the Michel Gentil name in this period for one reason alone, namely that it marked the first time he worked with the remarkable Brigitte Lahaie. Seen here in one of her earliest film roles, the brunette Lahaie is stunningly beautiful and is already projecting a quality that would mark her as one of the most memorable French film figures to come out of the seventies. It’s easy to see what Rollin saw in her, and it’s to his credit that he kept the promise that he made to her during the shooting of Vibrations Sexuelles that he would soon give her a part in a mainstream production. Lahaie, more than anyone else, is the ultimate Rollin heroine and their historic collaboration begin here.

There isn’t much to say about this film. My copy doesn’t have English subtitles and is, I believe, heavily cut. Lahaie is breathtaking though and Cathy Castel pops up in a scene. There are some beautiful images of Paris throughout the film and Rollin manages some nice shots, although clearly his heart isn’t in this. It’s finally not a particularly interesting production and outside of some familiar faces, there is nothing that announces it as a Jean Rollin film.

The film can be ordered through Xploited for those interested. I don't have any information on the quality of this version, or whether it is uncut.


Soukesian said...

Again, thanks . . we need to know about these movies! And it's great that Jean took Brigitte on to better things.

The Headless Werewolf said...

Thanks for another great post. I just sent you a Premio Dardos award: