Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finders Keepers Records 1st Rollin Release Now Available: Jeunes filles impudiques (Limited Edition EP)

The first release in what promises to be an absolutely amazing soundtrack series dedicated to Jean Rollin is now available from Finders Keepers records. Here is the link to a five track EP containing music from Jeunes filles impudiques (Schoolgirl Hitchhikers). There are only 500 of these beauties being printed so I would advise you to get your order in soon if you want a copy. Thanks to Finders Keepers for kicking off the series with such a rare and valuable release.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Hidden Cinema of Jean Rollin: The Scent of Mathilda (1994)

Jean Rollin had all but completed his tenure in the adult film world when he shot his final "Michel Gentil" production in 1979, Introductions Perverse. The adult films that he made, a few of which I have already covered here, were mostly shot for strictly financial reasons but Rollin had admitted later that he, and many of his peers, had viewed making the adult films of the seventies as a, "kind of revolution", celebrating the fact that they could now, "film what had always been forbidden." It was perhaps with that spirit in mind that Rollin returned briefly to the world of adult moviemaking with 1994's Le Parfum de Mathilde (typically translated as The Scent of Mathilda for English-language audiences).

Initially just brought on board by French producer Marc Dorcel (who was looking for an experienced director to take the place of the his in-house auteur Michele Ricaud, who had just recently passed away) as a screen writer, Jean would end up co-directing the made for video title as well. He would tell Peter Blumenstock in Virgins and Vampires and in the pages of Video Watchdog that he had indeed, "co-directed the film, though only Dorcel is credited." Rollin would also admit to Blumenstock that he wasn't, "too sad about it", as he would ultimately come to view the final product as just a "typical" adult title and, "not a good film at all", despite his initial ambitious intentions.

Centering on a young virginal bride named Agnes, who has been brought to a large countryside Parisian chateau by her new husband Remy to take the place of his former wife, the sexually adventurous Mathilda, The Scent of Mathilda is a an absolute step-above most adult films from the period but it's ultimately nowhere as interesting as Rollin had intended it to be. Pete Tombs would write, in his splendid look at the film in pages of Flesh and Blood, that Rollin's original script, "contains echoes from a whole range" of past literary and cinematic works including Beauty and the Beast, Belle De Jour and Rollin's own most ambitious adult feature, 1975's Phantasmes. Tombs would also correctly note that despite all these lofty influences, The Scent of Mathilda is finally just, "efficient, well-planned and workmanlike." The Scent of Mathilda is, at its core, just a sex film but it has enough very scattered "Rollinisms" to make it worth tracking down for major fans who are willing to give his adult works a look.

Visually the film is an all-right viewing experience. My copy, which was supplied to me by a very kind reader, comes from an American VHS put out by the uber-succesful adult company Vivid in the mid-nineties. Technically it has nothing on the groundbreaking shot on film adult-titles of the seventies, or the more recent quite impressive digitally shot productions from the past several years. It's a competent piece of work, done no favors by Vivid's unfortunate dubbing, highlighted by Dorcel's serviceable score and the photography of Francois About, who does the best he can given the budget and time at his disposal.

Unlike Rollin's seventies adult features, the cast of The Scent of Mathilda doesn't offer up any familiar faces from Jean's canon. Fans of the European adult cinema of this period will no doubt recognize Christophe Clark, Draghixa, lovely Julie Chanel and the very memorable Erica Bella. Dorcel himself also appears in the film, as this is finally much more his baby than Rollins.

Shot just after the underrated Killing Car, The Scent of Mathilda stands as Rollin's last adult production. He would make a forceful return to the classic "Jean Rollin film" just a couple of years down the road with the impressive Two Orphan Vampires, and The Scent of Mathilda most likely stands as his farewell to a genre that helped finance many of his most personal and greatest productions but sadly did him few favors artistically.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Jean Rollin Soundtrack Release Coming From Finders Keepers Records, Plus News on Night of the Hourglass

Cathy Castel steps behind the camera on the set of one of Rollin's Michel Gentil productions of the seventies.

Here's a really exciting bit of news for Rollin fans. It looks like the incredible label Finders Keepers Records are going to be releasing a double soundtrack compilation vinyl and CD in the near future. Here is a link that mention this collection, which looks to include music from Requiem for a Vampire, Fascination, The Nude Vampire and Rape of the Vampire. It's been awhile since we have had a Rollin soundtrack project so this is really terrific to hear. Also, the releases I have from Finders Keepers have all been top of the line (in regards to both sound quality and visual presentation) so this should be a real quality release. While the link at Finders Keepers just mentions the double LP/CD comp, this post at Salvation makes it sound like they might do a whole series. Either way, this is very welcome news.

Also, it looks like Night of the Hourglass is now available on PAL Region 2 DVD with an English subtitle option. Diabolik DVD has it listed but as of right now it is out of stock. I will be placing my order within the next couple of weeks and can't wait to see this film. Has any reader here had an opportunity yet to view this particular DVD???

Friday, July 2, 2010

Recent Rollin on the Web

A few friends of Fascination have recently posted several interesting Rollin related goodies that I wanted to offer links to. First up the always excellent Zines has posted some rare scans of a French article on The Sidewalks of Bangkok. He has quite a few great Rollin items so keep scrolling at this link.
Next up the terrific Quite Cool has added some thoughts and screens on La nuit des horloges here. Keep on scrolling down here for more Rollin related articles and captures.
Finally the awesome Kate at Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire has added a couple of various Rollin related tributes lately as well. Here's the link to her posts.

On a personal note. Kelley, my fiancee, and I have been working on an upgrade to a larger apartment so I have been a bit occupied as of late. We should finish up this weekend so I hope to have some new posts going soon...including a look at the hidden Rollin title The Scent of Mathilda. Thanks again for all that continue to read here...keep those emails and comments coming!