Montreal (Qc) CANADA, July 15 2007 -
Tribute To French director Jean Rollin, at
Fantasia Film Festival , July 15, 2007
Jean Rollin (1938- ) is French director of fantastique cinema who shot many hardcore and vampire horror films under the name Michel Gentil. His early works reflect a will to employ sex and violence as means to shock and criticise the society.
A master of cinematography, heavily influenced by near-contemporary French New Wave and earlier German Expressionism, his art films have been rightfully compared to a sort of visual poetry. His surreal images juxtapose the horrific and the erotic, often with minimal dialogue or action and sparse, but effective, scores. Like F.W. Murnau before him, Rollin typically employs the conventions of the horror genre, especially vampires, as a framing device for his unsettling images. As a result, the plot and dialogue of his films tend to be silly at best, and nonsensical at their worst, although these elements are really quite immaterial to the visual art for which his films are known.
Unfortunately, his peculiar combination of high-art and erotic horror camp failed to generate financial or critical success. On the other hand, his ability to incorporate sexuality into his art allowed him to recieve some financial support from the adult film industry, who hired him to direct some non-artistic adult films, which he did under the pseudonym 'Michel Gentil'.
After the rerelease of many of art-house horror films on DVD in the US and UK, his work has started to attract critical and academic attention, as well as a small cult following.
photo : Pierre Roussel (c) Images Distribution