Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two Very Rare Jean Rollin Fanzines Are on eBay

 I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that two rare issues of the French Fanzine Monster Bis dedicated to Jean Rollin have just been listed over at eBay. I don't have the money right now to bid but I wanted to share the link for any readers here that might.
The auctions can be viewed here and here and each listing has several scans from the issues (I am including a few favorites here). If any reader happens to snag these more scans would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Jean Rollin Top-Ten List by Jérôme Peyrel

I am very pleased this morning to present another Jean Rollin Top-Ten list from a reader here at Fascination.  This one comes from French writer Jérôme Peyrel.  Thanks very much to Jérôme for putting this together and for offering an English translation for my readers here.
 
1) the perseverance.
I love that Jean Rollin followed through his career, his films, his books ; the figures he created, the mixture he worked on, the way he told, over and over, the same story.
2) that poetic shot, in Lèvres de Sang, in which Frédéric can't catch the woman he dreams of since his childhood, in the cemetary... The light tears them apart, even if they are so close...
3) the Encore collection. Remarquable edition for these movies.
4) the Castel twins, that haunt my dreams, as they haunt La Vampire Nue.
5) His poetry of pause : the cinema of Jean Rollin is made of still pictures, beautiful, intriguing, they carries the essence of his conception of horror, surrealistic and free.
6) the 30 minutes of Le Viol du Vampire, and the camera that goes round and round the characters ad mauseam. I deeply love the duel.
7) The Philippe Druillet posters, in particular the one for La Vampire Nue.
8) The book Les Demoiselles de l'Etrange, that made me discover Erik Satie... (there's a lot of artists I discovered through Jean Rollin, notably Clovis Trouille).
9) La Rose de Fer, the Limoges screening in the late 90s. The film didn't arrived, so they decided to run the VHS ! Anyway, everybody was happy, and that day, we briefly talked about the movie with Jean Rollin. I looked forward to read the short story La Nuit du Cimetière (that can be found in the revue L'impossible number 11), during years since that day.
10) His critic works for french anarchists magazines in the 60's. One of his hidden sides.

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!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Jean Rollin Top-Ten by Robert Savage


Here's another entry in my newest giveaway here at Fascination.  Thanks so much to Robert Savage for compiling his personal Rollin list and I hope he enjoys the poster!  I still have one more prize left so start compiling your own Jean Rollin top-ten and email it my way. 

1. Shiver Of The Vampires because a strange naked lady comes out of a grandfather clock.

2. The Iron Rose because it's really unlike any other film ever made. It's not even like any other Rollin film ever made. Clown in cemetery. Slow moving. Makes me feel like I'm having one of those foggy dream like hangovers.

3. Immoral Tales book. Great book on Euro Horror in general with a nice big section dedicated to Rollin. My introduction.

4. Saga De Xam graphic novel. Incredibly cool large hardcover comic written by Rollin and illustrated beautifully by someone called Nicolas Devil. I don't understand a word of French but I can stare at this book for hours. I wish somebody would translate this into English. Very rare and one of my prized possessions. Did Nicolas Devil ever do anything else?

5. Living Dead Girl because it's a great bloody mess and a great bloody story.

6. Virgins and Vampires book. Nice companion to Rollin's films. It's not a huge book but it is a great go to guide if you want to read up on any of the films. Plus it has some good photos.

7. Finders Keepers soundtrack albums. I'm so glad that someone is releasing all of this great music and doing it so well. Great liner notes and sound quality.

8. Water. Rollin liked to shoot by the water and I like to be by the water.

9. Kino blu ray releases. I like the old bootleg quality stuff too because there's a certain charm in watching some bad quality vhs and thinking you're hip to something the rest of the world is unaware of, but it's really great to see these in a new and more clear light. But I'm hanging on to my old bootlegs.

10. Lesbian Vampires because they're lesbians and they're vampires.

Thanks again Robert!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Jean Rollin Top-Ten List by Daniel Orion Davis


A great big congratulations to Spellbound Cinema's Daniel Orion Davis for being the second entry in my Jean Rollin Personal Top-Ten giveaway!  Daniel really knocked it out of the park with his list and I know all fellow Rollin fans will find this detailed post a wonderful example as to just how much Rollin means to his most dedicated fans.  Thanks so much to Daniel for this wonderful piece and I hope you enjoy your prize.  Keep those lists coming!


1) The Bond of Sisters

With the exception of the beach at Dieppe (see entry #2), there is no
image more frequently returned to than that of a pair of young girls.
Obviously, the Castel Twins are the most memorable embodiment of this
archetype in Rollin's work, but the characters reappear far more
frequently than he was able to with with Marie-Pierre and Catherine.
Lost in New York, Fascination, Living Dead Girl, The Demoniacs and (of
course) Two Orphan Vampires all feature this dynamic without the
participation of a Castel. Whether the girls experience together an
adventure or a shared tragedy, it is clear that Rollin believes they
are empowered by their relationship to each other. Arguably the most
moving tragedy in Rollin's oeuvre results from the separation of such
a pair; both the narrative and the emotional resonance of Living Dead
Girl
revolve around the disruption of a childhood bond and the girls
are never truly Lost in New York until they are separated from each
other.

2) The Romance of Travel

No Rollin fan can doubt that a boyhood trip to Dieppe had a profound
effect on young Jean's thinking. Here at once was a new stage on
which his fantasies would be set for the rest of his life. Not only
did this create a life-long love affair with the beach at Dieppe, but
it seemed to impress upon Rollin the belief that travel was an
inherently romantic pursuit, filled with opportunities for adventure
and transformation. From one of his earliest shorts, Les Pays Loin,
in which the peculiarities of unfamiliar language and geography seem
to cause the protagonists to doubt their own identity and history, to
later films like Lost in New York and Sidewalks of Bangkok (in which
Rollin's romantic visions of these foreign cities define the
narrative) travel, in the Rollinade, is an opportunity for an
experience that is simultaneously more authentic and more fantastic.

3) The Importance of Memory

One of the most tragic things you can experience in a Rollin narrative
is the loss of your memory -- whether that be the memory of your
personal history or your connection to a shared cultural history.
Without memory, we are automatons, mere consumers. Memory allows us
to attribute meaning, make connections and bond with others. In Night
of the Hunted
, even a fabricated memory can have the power to restore
some value to an otherwise meaningless existence, while in The Living
Dead Girl
memories restore the humanity to the title character who is
otherwise just a void, a gnawing hunger.

4) The Seductive Power of Death

For many, death and its iconography are something to be shunned, as
though we can apply the childhood logic that if we don't see it, it
won't see us. But Rollin sees through such delusion and recognizes a
primal beauty to the ways in which we have visualized and portrayed
our own mortality. This is why his films are so frequently labeled as
horror films, despite having none of the narrative trademarks of the
genre -- visions of decay and morbidity haunt his films from first to
last. The Iron Rose, perhaps his greatest achievement, makes explicit
this dynamic as it considers two very different reactions to being
trapped in a cemetery, the literal land of the dead. Both parties end
up facing the same fate, but only "the girl," who has seen the beauty
in death, is transformed by it and thus transcends it.

5) The Passing of the Old World

Of all the filmmakers you could compare Rollin to, perhaps Jacques
Tati is an unusual choice. But it has always seemed to me that they
share a particular obsession: a deep sadness at the passing of the old
world and its replacement with a sterile modernity. Consider Playtime
and Night of the Hunted as strange companion pieces. Both are defined
by their being set among the glass and steel of modern office
buildings. Both seem to believe that such an environment can only
dehumanize its inhabitants. But between the two directors, Rollin was
far less optimistic. Whereas Tati seemed to ultimately suggest that
human nature would eventually assert itself against modernity and
carve new, more organic spaces for itself, anyone who has seen the
denouement of Night of the Hunted knows that Rollin believed that
something precious was being lost, perhaps irrevocably. Like the
scientific cult in The Nude Vampire, our age's attempts to measure,
rationalize and control our world must inevitably lead to our (or its)
destruction.

6) The Inadequacy of Language

Rollin's characters, especially in his later films, love to talk.
They circle around their subjects with a piling up of poetry, an
accumulation of words. Yet perversely, for all the beauty in the
language, Rollin seems intensely skeptical of our ability to actually
communicate with each other, to use language as a vehicle for sharing
our experiences. Perhaps its language's connection to rationality,
but speech frequently seems inadequate for its purpose in the cinema
of Rollin. Characters struggle against language as an implacable
barrier as they try to make each other understand the ineffable. His
filmography is nearly bookended with meditations on the subject. In
Les Pays Loin the protagonists wander in a labyrinth created by a
language barrier. In The Night of the Clocks, everyone has something
to say to Ovide, but their words seem only to draw her further and
further away from an understanding of her cousin (an understanding
that only images, icons, and experiences can really provide.)

7) The Redemptive Power of Fantasy

Just as we are made less human when we can no longer remember, we can
transcend our limitations when we are able to indulge our fantasies to
their fullest. Rollin spent his career chasing the fantasy figures
that made such an impression on his youth, a pursuit that enriched not
only his life, but the lives of all those who loved his films. His
characters, in turn, joined in on this pursuit whether by adopting
costumes (The Nude Vampire, Requiem for a Vampire), engaging in
performance (Shiver of the Vampire, Mask of Medusa) or simply -- and
perhaps most perfectly -- by telling each other stories (Lost in New
York.)



8) The Strength of Femininity

The heroic figures in Rollin's cinema are women. Even when the
protagonists are male, they are defined by their relationships to
women. Frédéric, in Lips of Blood, may be the single most appealing
and sympathetic male character in all of Rollin's filmography, but his
story is the story of a woman. His life is defined by his encounter
with a woman more captivating and powerful than he could ever hope to
be. Of course, the best illustration of the gender dynamics in
Rollin's work is in Fascination. There Marc, the robber who betrayed
his friends, clings to the symbols of male strength: his gun, his
will, his sexual dominance. Yet from the moment he encounters
Elisabeth and Eva he is at their mercy, whether he realizes it or not.

9) The Priority of Eroticism over Sex

One of the most common things you will read about Jean Rollin is also,
I believe, one of the most wrong. I don't know how many times I've
read critics, professional and amateur, asserting that Rollin was
obsessed with sex (usually given as somehow being proof of his
inadequacies as a director). This has always seemed to me to be the
most facile of observations. Yes, his films are replete with nudity
and with sex. But there are two considerations here. First, anyone
serious about understanding Rollin's work needs to take into account
the demands of the production environment in which Rollin worked.
Rollin frequently had to promise a certain amount of sex to get
funding for his films, and often (as in the case of Night of the
Hunted
) faced a continual struggle to retain his vision against
producers who would be more satisfied with a simple porn loop. No,
the sex scenes in Rollin's work are frequently perfunctory and rarely
possess the magic of his best moments. Second, is narrative context.
Rather than the sex act, I think it is eroticism that fascinated him
-- the aesthetics of desire. Just as the vampires that run rampant
through his films are defined by their hunger, sex in a Rollin film is
best when it's a desire unfulfilled. Many of the most striking images
in his filmography are deeply erotic but removed from an explicitly
sexual context: the iconic image of Brigitte Lahaie barely robed as
she wields a scythe in Fascination, Sandra Julien emerging from the
clock in Shiver of the Vampires, Françoise Pascal transformed by her
experience on the beach at Dieppe in The Iron Rose. In all three
cases conventional sexual dynamics and relationships are an obstacle
that has to be overcome before the true eroticism emerges.

10) The Value of Collaboration

For all that this list has focused on the man himself as the driving
force behind his films, the final theme I want to highlight is the
beauty and power that comes from collaboration with like-minded
friends. Rollin had an eye for beauty and a powerful imagination, but
his films would not have been the impressive body of work without the
host of tremendous talents he surrounded himself: the Castel twins,
Brigitte Lahaie, Philippe d'Aram, Jean-Jacques Renon, Willy Braque,
Natalie Perrey -- these are just some of the many frequent
collaborators who brought out the best in Rollin and did their best
work at his direction. In the 1980's financial problems drove Rollin
to prose rather than cinema as the outlet for his creative energies.
Undoubtedly the lack of constraints freed his imagination in a way
that it never had been before. Yet despite his success in this
endeavor he returned to film, even facing new limitations he continued
to make films right up to his final years. Why? Surely part of the
reason was the pleasure of working with others, seeing his imagination
reflected and transformed by the ideas of his companions. Why else
make a film like Night of the Clocks which, in addition to being a
meditation on his own mortality, was a joyful tribute to all the
people he'd worked with and the ways in which they continued to haunt
his imagination -- and ours.

Thanks again Daniel!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Jean Rollin Top-Ten List by Sascha Kämpf

We have our first winner in the Jean Rollin Personal Top-Ten Challenge!  This is exactly the kind of personal post with notes that I was hoping to receive and I really appreciate the contribution.  Congratulations to Sascha Kämpf and keep those entries coming as there are still three prizes remaining.

1) Grapes of Death
This must be my Top 1 because it was my first ever Rollin Film and made me a massive Fan of Jean Rollin.
And the image of Brigitte Lahaie in the nude has burned itself into my Iris forever ^^.
This brings me to my No. 2)

2) Brigitte Lahaie
Without Rollin Lahaie - I guess - would never have made it to "Mainstream" and here Presence has massively
attributed to Movies like Grapes of Death, Fascination or Franco's Faceless

3) Moteur coupez
This is my Top3 because I ordered this book from a small Store in Paris from a Guy who spoke enough english (since I
do not speak french) and I wanted this Limited Edition because it came with an autograph of JR an the Night of the Clocks DVD

4) Ecrits complets : Volume 1
I ordered this book from the same Bookstore in Paris - again Limited to 150 Copies with the DVD of Le masque de la Méduse.
Since - according to my knowledge - this movie has not yet been officially released on DVD I am one of the very few people who
has the DVD of it.

5) Lips of Blood
Because this movie touched me in a way that only a few movies ever did. It is utterly beautiful and stunning. I will never forget the
day I found the Encore-Box-Set. I was so happy I almost cried. Lips of Blood is and will always be my favourite Rollin Movie.

6) Fascination
Because this Movie is Eye Candy, visually absolutely stunning. The Setting is incredible. Lahaie unbelievable and the Score of Philippe d' Aram is the best
score of all of Rollin's Movies.

7) Philippe d' Aram
His Music fits absolutely perfect into Rollin's Movies & World. It's unique und "Cinema for the Ears"-

8) The Films of Jean Rollin
Because I wanted this CD forever and was looking for it for years until I finally managed to buy a it new at a reasonable price on Ebay.
What can I say? It's limited, out of print, the music is wonderful and I am happy I finally found the CD.

9) The Shiver of the Vampires
Because of it's Psychedlic Look and the strange but somehow fitting Music, the setting, Dominique and the two Vampires + one of the Castel-Twins.
What else do you need to but it on a Top10 List :)

10) Jean Rollin:  Virgins and Vampires
Because this Book (+CD) was hard to find. It has a lot of interesting Articles and I leaf through it quite often. Since I love Rollin it's hard to find
some rare Stuff like this Book. And since I was happy when it finally found it's way to my Letterbox it has well deserved to be on my Top10 list.

Thanks again Sascha!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Another Fascination Giveaway: The Personal Top-Ten Challenge

Greetings all. I have a few more Jean Rollin related goodies that I am looking to giveaway to four lucky winners. I thought instead of doing another trivia related challenge I would try and think a bit more outside the box. So, what I am looking for are some Jean Rollin Top-Ten lists that I can share here at Fascination.

The rules for the challenge are simple. Come up with a Rollin related list (with notes please).  If you are one of the first four folks who email me (mooninthegutter@gmail.com) a list I will send you a free prize! You can also get some free publicity for your own blog or site if you have one as I will, of course, be supplying a link back to your site with your list. Be creative with your list as you like (favorite films, greatest characters, best performances, coolest soundtracks etc). Just make sure it is Rollin related and that it has some brief notes (or an introduction will suffice). Readers who send
just a list won't be eligible for the prizes (although I will still post them and link back to you).

Okay, hopefully the rules are clear and now here are the prizes!

The reader who gets their list submitted first will get a sealed copy of the new Kino Redemption Living Dead Girl Blu-ray!

The person who gets me that second entry will get a sealed vinyl copy of the Finders Keepers Requiem for a Vampire soundtrack!

The next two folks will get a limited edition poster advertising the recent Triskel ChristChurch Jean Rollin film fest!

Any lists that come after the first four will still be shared here although only the first four will receive prizes. Okay, I hope these rules are clear so get to compiling and writing and I will get the packages ready to ship! All the best of luck and I can't wait to see, and post, your lists!