Monday, October 8, 2012

A Fascination Q&A with Filmmaker Damien Dupont

Tonight here at Fascination I am very excited to present this Q&A I recently conducted with filmmaker Damien Dupont, one of the directors (along with Yvan Pierre-Kaiser) of the upcoming documentary Jean Rollin,le rêveur égaré (Jean Rollin, The Stray Dreamer).  I am thrilled that Damien agreed to participate in this, as I know we are all excited about his upcoming film, and I can't thank him enough.  Enjoy the interview and support his upcoming work on Jean Rollin. 

Jeremy Richey:  Hi Damien. Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to participate in this interview. I really appreciate it and know my readers here will love it. To start off, can you tell us a bit about your background and where you are from?

Damien Dupont:  Hi Jeremy. It is a pleasure to answer your questions. So, I was a student at Paris VIII University, I studied Cinema. I met Thomas and Yvan at that time. We had the same plan: to become movie directors and producers. My first movies were made with University: an experimental movie on a doppleganger and I made a movie with Yvan: a short film about the critics who don’t like Horror Movies, Sci-fi Movies, etc. That movie contained false extract movies, made by ourselves too. We were inspired by Videodrome, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari and David Lynch’s movies. It was a kind of comedy.

How did you initially get interested in film and who were some of your early influences?

My parents used to take me to the cinema every week. They often talked about movies like Fog by John Carpenter or The Fly by David Cronenberg. My early influences were Naked Lunch by David Cronenberg, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, Fire Walk with Me by David Lynch. These movies were like a revelation. They opened my mind. They were so different from other movies I was seeing.

How did you first discover the cinema of Jean Rollin?

My first discovery was Le viol du vampire (The rape of the Vampire). This film was made in 1968 and is still completely crazy, it’s always a strange experience. To tell the truth, the first time, I didn’t like this movie. It was too strange, too “dadaist”. Now, I love it. It’s fun and crazy, maybe one of the strangest movies of the story of the cinema.

Tell us about Jean Rollin, le rêveur égaré and how the project came about?

One day, Yvan phoned me: “I’ve got the phone number of Jean Rollin. Do you want to meet him ?” Me: “Of course !”. Yvan called him. The next week, we met Jean Rollin. He was a kind old man living in Paris. We talked with him for several hours. He told us about his incredible life and career. His mother was a friend of Jacques Prévert and Jean Cocteau’s. His lost movie, L’itinéraire marin, was written by Marguerite Duras. In 1968, his first film’s audience (The Rape of the Vampire) wanted to lynch him as they hated this movie! During the seventies, Jean Rollin began to make porn movies, etc. Meeting him was a great moment. In the end, Yvan and I had the same idea: make a documentary on Jean Rollin. In the beginning, we wanted to make a short film of 26 minutes. After 2 years, it was 52 minutes. After 5 years, it was 78 minutes.

You got to interview a number of Rollin’s most notable collaborators and Rollin himself. Can you tell us who we will see in the film and was there anyone you were particularly excited to meet and talk to?

The shooting of the movie lasted five years. So we interviewed Jean Rollin several times over that period. His death stopped the meetings, it was very sad… In the end, he was very sick.

In the movie, you will see Jean-Loup Phillipe (friend and actor of Jean Rollin), Natalie Perrey (his collaborator from the beginning, she was an actress, an editor, a script-writer, a production manager etc. ; unfortunately, she died in 2012), Jean-Pierre Bouyxou (a movie critic and Jean Rollin’s friend), Pete Tombs (Mondo Macabro’s editor, Immoral Tales’ writer), Pascal Françaix (who wrote “Jean Rollin cinéaste-écrivain”), Brigitte Lahaie, Ovidie, Caroline Vié (a movie critic) and Philippe Druillet (the great French comics artist ; he worked on the set of The Rape of the Vampire and drew the movie posters of The Rape of the Vampire, The Nude Vampire and The Shiver of the Vampires).

I was very excited to meet Philippe Druillet and talk with him. And that was a great time and the last interview for the documentary… We drank lots of wine, he is a cool guy and a genius. He made all the furniture in his workshop himself… It felt like being in one of his comics, a very strange feeling! A really great moment and an excellent interview.


Your film has played a several festivals already. How has the reception been and will there eventually be DVD release?

The reception by the audience, the friends and the family of Jean Rollin was excellent. We didn’t expect it after 5 years of work. It was very moving.

The movie should be released in France in 2013 and maybe in North America in the same year and the DVD will have many features, hopefully.

What are your personal favorite films by Jean Rollin?

Iron Rose and Requiem for a Vampire are the most beautiful Jean Rollin’s movies. The quintessence of his unique talent.

With the recent Kino/Redemption Blu-rays and Finders Keepers soundtrack releases Jean Rollin has been getting more mainstream attention, to English language audiences, than ever before. Your film will certainly help strengthen his legacy even more. What is it about the works of Jean Rollin that remains so captivating?

It’s very hard to answer. I don’t really know. These movies are hypnotic dreams with beautiful naked women. They are unique erotic macabre movies. A beautiful wedding between sex and death.
Thanks so much Damien for taking the time to participate in this Q&A!  I know I speak for all Jean Rollin fans when I say thank you and Yvan for making this film...we are all extremely excited to see it and we wish you both all the success in the world.  Thanks again!

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