Friday, April 27, 2012

The Hidden Cinema of Jean Rollin: Douce pénétration (Gode Story) (1976)



After the unfortunate financial failure of Lips of Blood in 1975, Jean Rollin had no choice but to begin directing again under the pseudonym of Michel Gentil. He had previously shot two films as Gentil (Jeunes Filles Impudiques and Tout le monde il en a deux) in 1973 and 1974 but starting in '76 his main non de plume would be seen on more movie posters than the name Jean Rollin. Indeed by the end of the seventies 'Michel Gentil' would be credited as the director of almost ten films (with Rollin's other moniker Robert Xavier cited with almost another half-dozen).







Gode Story, Rollin's first adult-feature of 1976 (after the infinitely superior Phantasmes in '75) had the more extreme title of Douces pénétrations upon its initial French release. According to the IMDB it also been known as
Fransk weekend and La romancière lubrique during theatrical and home video releases.








While it proved much more financially successful than the masterful Lips of Blood, Gode Story finds Rollin essentially on autopilot as a director and it would be hard to recommend the film to anyone outside of serious fans. Clearly shot extremely quickly, and on the cheap, Gode Story finds Rollin in workmanlike mode and, save a couple of shots of the Castel Twins wandering down a lonely hallway, there is little to suggest that this is the work of one of our great masters of the Fantastique.






It is indeed the presence of the iconic Cathy and Marie-Pierre Castel that will attract most fans to Gode Story. The film would in fact, sadly, mark the final time Rollin would work with the mesmerizing Marie-Pierre (Pony) Castel, as she would retire from cinema after appearing in Francis Girod's Rene the Cane in 1977. Considering how magical the collaboration between Jean Rollin and Pony Castel had been, Gode Story is a rather sad closing-chapter. Rollin would continue working with Cathy Castel, as an actress and make-up artist, throughout the seventies in various adult projects.




Some of the cast and crew for Gode Story will be immediately recognizable to Rollin devotees. The amazing Jean-Jacques Renon photographed the film, as Oscar Lapin, and Lips of Blood composer Didier William Lepauw is credited with the score. Speaking of Lips of Blood, the intoxicating Matine Grimaud is also featured in Gode Story. Perhaps the most familiar face in Gode Story, outside of our beloved Castel Twins, will be Rollin himself, who appears as a hapless chef throughout the film.



Gode Story has a few interesting connections to two other wildly non-conforming filmmakers from the period, Jean-Francois Davy and Jess Franco. Adult actress Jocelyne Clairis had already worked numerous times with Davy before being called on by Rollin and the co-screenwriter of Gode Story, filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bouyxou (who also appears in the film) had worked on several films with Franco in the early seventies before becoming one of Rollin's most trusted collaborators in front of and behind the camera.



Like almost all of Jean Rollin's Michel Gentil films Gode Story can typically only be found via the collector's market. My copy comes from an old French VHS copy and I have no idea if the film has ever appeared on disc anywhere. Due to the Castel Twins appearance, Gode Story will be sort of a 'must-see' work for Rollin obsessives (like myself) but there finally isn't much to recommend about it. It was a film made to help the financial burden that had been placed on Rollin in the mid-seventies and, in that sense, it helped allow the string of truly great works he was able to deliver just a few years down the road.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Special Presentation of La Vampire Nue at The Cinefamily

For those close to the Los Angeles area, The Cinefamily have hooked up again with B-Music/Finders Keepers to present a very special evening for Jean Rollin fans.  On Monday, May 7th, a unique screening of Rollin's glorious second feature, La Vampire Nue, will take place.  The film will be accompanied by a live performance by British duo Demdike Stare, who are debuting their revamped version of the film's score.  Because of the distance I will not be able to attend, but a report from any readers here who might would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks to folks at The Cinefamily (and of course our friends at B-Music/Finders Keepers) for hosting another Rollin-themed event!  I wish I could be there...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Upcoming Jean Rollin Discs: Covers and Specs

On DVD and Blu-ray May 29th.



Special Features
• Mastered in HD from the uncensored
35mm negative
• French with optional English subtitles
• Introduction by Jean Rollin
• Two short films by Jean Rollin:
Les Amours jaunes (The Yellow Loves,
1958, 9 min.) and Les Pays loin
(The Far Country, 1965, 16 min.)
• Alternate version of one scene (2 min.)
• “Fragments of Pavements Under the
Sand,” a documentary by Daniel
Gouyette, featuring interviews with
Jean Rollin, Jean-Denis Bonan,
and Jean-Pierre Bouyxou
• Interview with Jean Rollin
• Interview with Jean-Loup Philippe
• 16-page booklet with an essay by
Tim Lucas, editor of Video Watchdog
• Original theatrical trailers



Special Features
• Mastered in HD from the 35mm
negative
• French with optional English subtitles
• English dubbed version
• Introduction by Jean Rollin
• “The Shiver of a Requiem,” a
documentary featuring interviews
with Natalie Perrey and
Jean-Noël Delamarre
• Interview with Louise Dhour, courtesy
of Encore Filmed Entertainment
• 16-page booklet with an essay by
Tim Lucas, editor of Video Watchdog
• Original theatrical trailers
• Original trailers of seven other
Rollin films






Special Features
• Mastered in HD from the 35mm
negative
• French with optional English subtitles
• Introduction by Jean Rollin
• Two deleted sex scenes (10 min.)
• Additional deleted footage (2 min.)
• Interview with Jean-Pierre Bouyxou
• Interview with Natalie Perrey
• 16-page booklet with an essay by
Tim Lucas, editor of Video Watchdog
• Original theatrical trailer
• Original trailers of seven other
Rollin films



***

Saturday, April 7, 2012

***CONTEST-CLOSED*** A Jean Rollin Screenshot Challenge: Two Ways to Win

***We have two winners! Congratulations to Dana Reinoos for winning the CD and to Dwayne Ings for winning the CD and vinyl! I hope you both enjoy the discs!***

Here are the answers:

1. Sidewalks of Bangkok
2. The Demoniacs
3. Living Dead Girl
4. Lost in New York
5. Bacchanales Sexuelles



Okay, I'm looking to giveaway some more Jean Rollin items this morning. The rules are pretty simple and there can be two winners. Here are screenshots from five different Rollin directed works. Be the first person to email me the titles of three of the films and you get your choice of the new Requiem for a Vampire/Fascination CD soundtrack from Finders Keepers or the recent B-Music of Jean Rollin CD! If you are the first person to answer all five correctly you get your choice of CD plus one of the limited edition Finders Keepers 10-Inch vinyl soundtracks (either Requiem or Fascination)! This is open for readers all over the world. Just email me your answers at mooninthegutter@gmail.com as quickly as possible for a chance to win. If you miss out on this one, I have a couple of more giveaways coming up so keep a lookout. Thanks and I hope I will be mailing out some packages very soon.




Friday, April 6, 2012

A Look at the New Finders Keepers Jean Rollin Soundtracks

In a terrific recent interview with Fact, influential musician and Finders Keepers Records founder Andy Votel states that one of the main goals behind their terrific Jean Rollin soundtrack series is, "to present Rollin fans with something that they’ve deserved for a long time", and to hopefully, "open up his work to another generation of open-minded viewers." Votel isn't just spouting off typical PR bullshit here as the man is clearly a great fan of Jean Rollin, and these Finders Keepers releases are are real works of passion looking, in part, to help spread the great Rollin legacy to a whole new audience.
Finders Keepers have recently released the newest editions to their Jean Rollin soundtrack library, Pierre Raph's score for Requiem for a Vampire and Philippe D'Aram's score for Fascination, as 2 gorgeous ten-inch vinyl editions and as a single combo-CD. These discs feature the most complete versions of both scores ever released and are accompanied by informative and moving liner notes by the great Daniel Bird.
Votel likened putting together these soundtracks to, "detective work" to Fact and admits that, with especially Requiem for a Vampire that, "a lot of the original parts and tapes were missing, so the project is made up of a mixture of studio recordings and music taken from the film reels." While this is a bit unfortunate, the fact that both of these releases are so compulsively listenable and enjoyable is a real tribute to the hard work and dedication of Votel and the entire Finders Keepers team.
Of the two releases, Fascination is absolutely the most sonically pleasing. D'Aram's score sounds incredibly inviting and rich and Finders Keepers disc serves as a reminder to just how truly great D'Aram's work for Rollin was. Playful, sensual and extremely haunting, the music from Fascination stands with any of the many great soundtracks from the late seventies and this new release is a perfect way to celebrate it. Daniel Bird's notes are, not surprisingly, wonderful as well and he continues to be able to mix scholarly and personal writing, with an incredibly sharp historical perspective, like no other film writer on the planet.
The Requiem for a Vampire soundtrack sounds like it was a much more difficult project for Votel and company to put together as a number of tracks are indeed taken from the film reels Votel mentioned to Fact. Votel explained to Fact that, "Requiem was a film that was almost a no-go from the outset due to the music and dialogue channels on the original print being bounced into one then replaced with a badly dubbed version with distorted music on the music channel", and that he could have released, "this record as stand-alone music and arguably de-Rollinise it" but thankfully he hasn't done that. So as it stands, the soundtrack for Requiem for a Vampire is a wonderfully imperfect piece of bliss that offers up one of the most challenging, and forward thinking, scores of the seventies in the most complete version currently possible. Votel holds out the hope that one day the studio-tapes might surface but, until then, this is a fine release that has many pleasures, including Bird's powerful and moving notes, far outweighing any sonic imperfections.
The Requiem for a Vampire and Fascination soundtracks from Finders Keepers join their Le Frisson des Vampires, Jeunes Filles Impudiques and The B-Music of Jean Rollin releases as loving reminders to the power of Jean Rollin's artistic legacy. A big thanks to Andy Votel, Daniel Bird and the entire team at Finders Keepers Records for releasing all of these and I certainly hope more are on the way (The Iron Rose PLEASE!!!). These are really special releases that will bring a lot of joy to longtime Jean Rollin fans, as well as turning on a lot of new ones.
***

Thursday, April 5, 2012



Information on this much-anticipated film can be found here.