Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Hidden Cinema of Jean Rollin: Discosex (1978)



Released in 1978, less than a year before Fascination, Discosex is one of the final ‘Robert Xavier’ productions and one of the most intriguing. A failure in any sort of an erotic sense, more than anything else the film show’s Rollin’s obvious boredom and disdain for the genre, Discosex does work as an avant-garde and at times confrontational behind the scenes look at a frustrated director working well below his means.




Running around seventy minutes, with most of its running time filled with a dreadfully boring and sometimes grueling group sex sequence, Discosex is at it most interesting the opening and closing few minutes where it takes a look at the behind the scenes goings on of Rollin, his cast and crew.




The storyline is non-existent (it centers on a group of young students brought to recording studio to make an audio recording of their lovemaking) and Rollin’s direction as Gentil has never been more uninspired, but there is something sort of provocative and ingenious about Discosex. It’s as though Rollin sees how absurd what should have been such a revolutionary genre had become, and he is throwing that absurdity back in its audience face. Artistically this might represent Rollin at his weakest, but it is also him at his most soberly cynical works…




Rollin appears as one of the cast, and a few familiar faces from France’s adult genre including Cathy Stewart, Agnes LeMercier, Diane Dubois and Marie-Claude Viollet join him. Rollin doesn’t partake in any of the film’s adult sequences and mostly appears during the film’s intriguing opening and closing. Perhaps the oddest and most noteworthy thing about the film is that Rollin is appearing under his own name as an actor while directing himself under one of his pseudonyms.




Rollin would thankfully have only a few more of these to make for financial reasons, and with Fascination the glorious artist would be beautifully reborn and resoundingly unleashed for his fans once again.



3 comments:

DreemyKreem said...

I've been looking for this film forever and really enjoyed reading your post on it and seeing the stills. I know it's context in the works of Rollin, but wishing to be a completist, the lack of info on Disco Sex made me even more curious than I would have been otherwise.

Jeremy Richey said...

So glad I could do a post on it and I am glad you found it interesting. I will offering up more looks at the Gentil and Zavier film as they come my way. Thanks again...

Soukesian said...

Thanks for another great post in the Hidden Cinema series. Disco Sex sounds like a pretty wretched viewing experience, but I do appreciate your subjecting yourself to it to satisfy my curiosity!