Jean Rollin

Started by wilder, July 23, 2011, 06:21:06 PM

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A new documentary about Jean Rollin directed by Kat Ellinger & Dima Bollin is premiering at Fantasia Fest

QuoteHas there been a genre artist more fundamentally misunderstood and inappropriately discussed than Jean Rollin? He remains one of genre cinema's most singular poets, a theatrical fantasist, interpreter of dreams, orchestrator of storms. His recurring use of twin or paired protagonists and surrealistic interpretations of vampirism, with tones that were often in the midnight space between gothic literature and fairy tale, his sense of humour and intellectual musings, his sumptuous visual ideas, coming together to make inspired works of genre art that ran against nearly all traditions of the times they were made in. Always produced on budgets lower than his ideas called for, pushed through with a resourceful ingenuity that can be felt in the finished films, lending them further layers of individuality and heart. Yet these qualities led many to dismiss his work without ever actually engaging with it, with proper distribution outside of France proving elusive for many of his films (though here in Quebec, most opened theatrically and had mass VHS releases in the early video boom). Rollin has always had a small and dedicated cult following – in the final years of his life, he was celebrated at a number of festivals and here at Fantasia, he was the recipient of our 2007 lifetime achievement award. Most of his works are now available on blu-ray across the world, yet he continues to remain a secret handshake of cinephelia in need of broader critical reassessment.

Made in close collaboration with the filmmaker's surviving family, Kat Ellinger and Dima Ballin's years-in-the-making documentary tells Rollin's story in a way we've not seen before. Beginning with his childhood raised by a mother who was close friends with Cocteau, Bataille and Blanchot and a father who directed avant-garde theatre (some of the photos shown from this period are worth the price of admission alone), ORCHESTRATOR OF STORMS explores Rollin's films through the context of his life and obsessions, his connection to French surrealists and poetry, his involvement with the '60s anarchist scene in France, bringing a deeper dimension to the ways his work can be understood. With the perspectives of his friends and collaborators, including Brigitte Lahaie and Françoise Pascal, and a range of cinema and cultural historians, including Howard Berger and Fantasia's 2022 Canadian Trailblazer Kier-La Janisse, who published lost girls: the phantasmagorical cinema of Jean Rollin (2017), and also co-executive produced. Deeply moving and downright revelatory, ORCHESTRATOR OF STORMS is a bona fide miracle.



Being released by Arrow in 2023


Jean Rollin's ultra-rare SAGA DE XAM has been republished by Floating World Comics

QuoteSaga de Xam is one of the last forgotten gems of international comics from the 1960s. At the time, Eric Losfeld, a historical counterculture publisher, decided to publish a few comics, masterpieces like Barbarella by Jean-Claude Forest and Pravda la survireuse. And Saga de Xam, a Dantesque and unique work by its author, Nicolas Devil, with a script by the legendary filmmaker Jean Rollin.

Unquestionably, Saga de Xam is a milestone in the history of French-language comics, and in particular with regard to science fiction and heroic marvels. Its plastic power has never been equalled. A young author aged 24 in 1967, Nicolas Devil (1943) created his only comic book work, Saga de Xam. Very quickly he withdrew definitively from the world of comics, discouraged by the difficulties and the compromises required.

As for Jean Rollin (1938-2010), his co-screenwriter, he continued a long career as a filmmaker, making 25 films under his name and around twenty others under various pseudonyms. He also wrote more than twenty novels and short stories.


Coming to 4K UHD blu-ray from Indicator UK in April 2023

Jean Rollin's third feature film, 1971's The Shiver of the Vampires (Le Frisson des vampires), established themes and visual motifs to which he would return throughout his career, blending horror, eroticism, fairy tale, and surrealism to create his unique cinema of the fantastique. Arriving at a decrepit chateau for their honeymoon, young newlyweds undergo a series of surreal and sinister encounters, and come to realise that they are the prey of the resident vampires...

Originally released in 1997, Two Orphan Vampires (Les Deux orphelines vampires) finds Jean Rollin, the master of the fantastique, returning to the vampire genre with which he had made his name. By day, blind orphans Henriette and Louise seem to be the picture of innocence. But when darkness falls, their sight returns, and they wander the streets of Paris, encountering the city's strange nocturnal denizens, and leaving a trail of corpses in their quest for fresh blood.