Jean Rollin  

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Jean Michel Rollin Le Gentil (3 November 1938 - 15 December 2010) was a French film director, actor, and novelist best known for his films in the fantastique genre such as the vampire film Le Viol du Vampire (1968) and the first French gore film (Les Raisins de la Mort, 1978). He was the son of Denise Rollin-Le Gentil and is one of the early pioneers of French X-rated cinema. Jean Rollin was part of the coterie of Eric Losfeld, he frequently collaborated with Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, editor in chief of French magazines Fascination and Sex Stars System.

Contents

Style

Influenced by traditional French and German expressionist cinema, classic American horror, early serials, comics, fantastic literature and surrealist art, Rollin's fantastique films have been rightfully compared to a sort of visual poetry, juxtaposing the macabre with the sensual and the beautiful with the bizarre. His poetic images are often accompanied by minimal dialogue and simple but haunting musical scores, and the pacing is generally slow and deliberate. All of these qualities contribute to an atmosphere which is commonly described as surreal and dream-like.

Production value

Despite the limited budget of his productions, Rollin has been able to film in some spectacular locations: a rocky beach at Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, grand castles (châteaux), rolling countrysides, and cemeteries thick with gothic atmosphere. Like F.W. Murnau before him, Rollin typically employs the conventions of the horror genre, especially vampires, as a framing device for his unusual images. As a result, plot, dialogue, and narrative tend to be secondary to the visual art for which his films are known.

Reception

In the beginning, Rollin's films were generally not well received by his audience or critics. His first feature, Le viol du vampire, caused such a scandal that audiences booed, shouted, and threw trash at the screen. The reaction to the film was so hostile that Rollin considered quitting the film business. His next few films also failed to generate much praise. Harsh French film critics coined the derogatory term "Rollinade" (forged on Bérézinade) to describe his particular style of cinema, which they felt was cheap, amateurish, and nonsensical. Later on, fans would embrace the term and use it proudly.

With most of his films now available on DVD worldwide, Rollin has gained a new generation of fans, as well as attracting further critical and academic attention. He currently resides in Paris and is working on his last film, La Nuit transfigurée.

Adult films

While Rollin's peculiar combination of high-art and erotic horror camp failed to generate much financial or critical success, his ability to incorporate eroticism into his films earned him steady work as a director of adult films during the early years of French X-rated cinema. Rollin (under various pseudonyms such as Michel Gentil, Michel Gand, and Robert Xavier) directed a number of adult features from 1973 to the late 1980's, ranging from light-hearted softcore/comedy hybrids to hardcore pornography. 1975's Phantasmes was Rollin's attempt at making an X-rated feature with a real story and decent actors, but the average viewer was not interested in such a thing. At the request of his producers, Rollin also made X-rated versions of some of his serious films (Lèvres de sang; La Nuit des traquées) to help fund the productions.

While making Vibrations sensuelles, Rollin saw acting potential in French adult star Brigitte Lahaie and wanted her to act in his next horror film, 1978's Les Raisins de la mort. Lahaie was perfect for the role and she began a working relationship with Rollin that continued throughout his career. Lahaie's leading role in 1979's Fascination helped the film garner widespread acclaim, even among critics who had ridiculed Rollin's earlier films.

Early life

Jean Rollin was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France to artistically inclined family, his father was an actor and theatre director, inspiring both he and his brother, Olivier to pursue a career in show business. Jean saw his very first film when he was about five-years old, it was a 1942 film called Capitaine Fracesse, out in the country during the second world war and it made a profound impression on him. He particularly remembered the storm sequence, he had never seen anything so fascinating and magical; it simply changed his life forever, after that he decided he wanted to make films and with his father an actor in theatre this had a heavy influence on him. Rollin's parents were separated so he didn't live with his father, but once in a while he went to the theatre and watched him perform on stage. When he was 15 his mother gave him a typewriter and it was an important moment for him; that's when everything started, he began to write little screenplays and stories, heavily influenced by the films he saw. When he was a schoolboy, he and his friends frequently went to the movies. When he was about 13 or 14 he became obsessed with American Serials. When he was about 16, he found a job at Le Films des Saturne.

He just helped out there, writing invoices because he wanted to earn some money and he wanted to do something connected with cinema. The specialized in creating opening and closing credits and little cartoons, but they also shot real films. One day they were assigned to make a documentary about Snecma, a big factory in France which built motors and airplanes and Jean was part of the crew, it was his first time on a real movie set, he did everything, he arranged the travelling shots, laid the tracks, checked the electricity and helped the cameraman. Rollin also worked as an editor in the French Army with Claude Lelouch in the cinema department making army commercials, Claude directed and Jean did the Montage, they did two films, one was a documentary about the mechanographic service called Mechanographie and the other was a real film running at 1 hour called La Guerre de Silence (The War of Silence).

Le Viol du Vampire

With the release of Le Viol du Vampire on 27 May 1968 the May Revolution raged through the streets of Paris, the police even stormed a cinema where the film was shown, a huge riot broke out between filmgoers and the police.

Death

Rollin died in December 2010 after a long illness.

Filmography

Director

Year Title Notes
1958 Les Amours Jaunes Other title - The Yellow Love, The Yellow Lovers (short)
1961 Ciel de Cuivre Other title - Copper Sky, Sky of Copper (short)
1962 Cheval pour Deux Other title - A Horse for Two (short) (Assistant Director)
1963 L'itinéraire Marin Other title - Sea Journey (screenplay only)
1965 Le Pays Loin Other titles - The Distant Lands, The Far Country
1965 Vivre en Espagne Other title - Life in Spain (short documentary)
1968 Le Viol du Vampire Other titles - The Rape of the Vampire, Queen of the Vampires, Vampire Woman, La Reine des Vampires
1969 La Vampire Nue Other titles - The Nude Vampire, The Naked Vampire
1970 Le Frisson des Vampires Other titles - The Shiver of the Vampires, Sex and Vampires, Strange Things Happen at Night, The Terror of the Vampires, Thrill of the Vampires, Vampire Thrills
1971 Requiem pour un Vampire Other titles - Requiem for a Vampire, Vierges et Vampires, Caged Virgins, The Crazed Vampire, Crazed Virgins, Dungeon of Terror, Sex and the Vampires, Virgins and Vampires, Virgins and the Vampires
1972 La Rose de Fer Other titles - Rose of Iron, The Iron Rose
1973 Among the Living Dead Other titles - Christina, Princesse de l'exorcisme, Virgin Among The Living Dead, Christine, a Princess of Exorcism, Zombi 4: A Virgin Among the Living Dead
1973 Jeunes Filles Impudiques Other titles - Shameless Young Schoolgirls, School Girl Hitchhikers; Credited as Michel Gentil
1973 Les Démoniaques Other titles - Demoniacs, Curse of the Living Dead
1974 Tout le Monde il en a Deux Other titles - Bacchanales Sexuelles, Fly Me the French Way; Credited as Michel Gentil
1974 Lévres de Sang Other title - Lips of Blood
1974 Suce-Moi Vampire Hard core Version of Lévres de Sang; Other titles - Suck Me Vampire
1975 Phantasmes Other titles - Phantasmes Pornographiques, Phantasmes d'Isabelle, The Seduction of Amy, Once Upon a Virgin
1975 Douces Pénetrations Other titles - Sweet Penetrations, Gode Story; Credited as Michel Gentil
1976 Amours Collectives Other title - Love Story; Credited as Michel Gentil
1976 La Comtesse Lxe Other title - Sueurs Chaudes; Credited as Michel Gentil
1976 Hard Pénétrations Other title - Jouissances et Soumission
1976 Vibrations Sexuelles Other titles - Sexual Vibrations, Vibrazoni
1976 Apothéose Porno Other title - Climatic Porno
1977 Saute-Moi Dessus Also editor and cinematographer
1977 Lévres Entrouvertes Other title - Parted Lips, Lévres Entrouvertes pour Sexes Chauds
1977 Positions Danoises Other titles - Danish Positions
1977 Discosex Sound engineer
1978 Hyperpénétrations Other title - Par Devant Par Derriere; Credited as Robert Xavier
1978 Petites Pensionnaires Impudiques Credited as Michel Gentil
1978 Remplissez-Moi... Les 3 Trous Credited as Robert Xavier
1978 Les Trois Trous
1978 Les Raisins de la Mort Other titles - The Grapes of Death, Pestizide, Pesticide, The Raisins of Death, Foltermühle der Gefangenen Frauen
1979 Fascination
1979 Pénétrations Vicieuses Other title - Vicious Penetrations
1979 Introductions Perverses Other title - Perverse Introductions
1979 Gamines en Chaleur Other title - Si Jeune et Déjà Cochonne
1979 Bouches Lascives et Pornos Re-edit of Lévres Entrouvertes and La Comtesse Lxe
1979 La Nuit des Traquées Other title - The Night of the Hunted, Night of the Cruel Sacrifice
1979 Les Filles Traquées Porn Version of La Nuit des Traquées
1980 Le Lac des Morts Vivants Other title - Zombie Lake, Zombies Lake
1981 Les Paumées du Petit Matin Other titles - The Escapées, Fugues Mineures, The Runaways
1982 La Morte Vivante Other titles - The Living Dead Girl, Lady Dracula, Queen Zombie, Scare: Dead or Alive
1982 Rêves de Sexes Other title - Quand le Chat; Credited as Robert Xavier
1983 Folies Anales Other title - Anal Madness; Credited as Robert Xavier
1983 Sodomanie Other title - Sodomania
1984 Les Trottoirs de Bangkok Other title - The Sidewalks of Bangkok, Streetwalkers of Bangkok
1985 Ne Prends pas les Poulets pour des Pigeons Other titles - Chickens pretending to be Pigeons
1989 Killing Car Other title - Femme Dangereuse
1989 Perdues dans New York Other title - Lost in New York
1991 Á la Prostitute de Barbara
1994 Le Parfum de Mathilde Other titles - The Scent of Mathilda, The Scent of Mathilde (script only)
1997 Les Deux Orphelines Vampires Other titles - Two Orphan Vampires, The Two Vampire Orphans
1999 La Fiancée de Dracula Other titles - Fiancee of Dracula, The Brides of Dracula, Dracula's Fiancee
2007 La Nuit des Horloges Other title - The Night of the Clocks
2010 Le Masque de la Méduse

Writer

Year Title Notes
1963 L'itinéraire Marin Other title - Sea Journey
1965 Le Pays Loin Other title - The Distant Lands, The Far Country
1968 Le Viol du Vampire Other titles - The Rape of the Vampire, Queen of the Vampires, Vampire Woman, La Reine des Vampires
1969 La Vampire Nue Other title - The Nude Vampire, The Naked Vampire
1970 Le Frisson des Vampires Other titles - The Shiver of the Vampires, Sex and Vampires, Strange Things Happen at Night, The Terror of the Vampires, Thrill of the Vampires, Vampire Thrills
1971 Requiem pour un Vampire Other titles - Requiem for a Vampire, Vierges et Vampires, Caged Virgins, The Crazed Vampire, Crazed Virgins, Sex and the Vampires, Virgins and Vampires, Virgins and the Vampires
1972 La Rose de Fer Other titles - Rose of Iron, The Iron Rose
1973 Les Demoniaques Other titles - Demoniaques, Curse of the Living Dead
1974 Tout le Monde il en a deux Other titles - Bacchanales Sexuelles, Fly me the French Way; Credited as Michel Gentil
1974 Lévres de Sang Other title -
1974 Phantasmes Other titles - Phantasmes Pornographiques, Phantasmes D'isabelle, The Seduction of Amy, Once Upon a Virgin
1975 Douches Pénétrations Other titles - Sweet Penetrations, Gode Story; Credited as Michel Gentil
1976 Amours Collectives Other titles - Love Story; Credited as Michel Gentil
1976 Hard Pénétrations Other titles - Joussances et Soumission
1977 Saute-Moi Dessus Also Editor and Cinematographer
1977 Discosex
1978 Les Raisins de la Mort Other titles - The Grapes of Death, Pestizide, Pesticide, The Raisins of Death, Foltermühle der Gefangenen Frauen
1979 Mondo Cannibale Other titles - The Cannibals, Barbarian Goddess, 'White Cannnibal Queen Uncredited
1979 Fascination
1979 La Nuit des Traquees Other titles - The Night of the Hunted, Night of the Cruel Sacrifice
1981 Les Paumées du Petit Matin Other titles - The Escapées, Fuges Mineures, The Runaways
1982 La Morte Vivante Other titles - The Living Dead Girl, Lady Dracula, Queen Zombie, Scare: Dead or Alive
1983 Sodomaine Other titles - Sodomania
1988 Emanuelle 6 (Script only), Uncredited
1989 Perdues dans New York Other titles - Lost in New York
1994 Le Parfum de Mathilde Other titles - The Scent of Mathilda, The Scent of Mathilde
1997 Les Deux Orphlines Vampires Other titles - Two Orphan Vampires, The Two Vampire Orphans
1999 La Fiancée de Dracula Other titles - Fiancee of Dracula, The Brides of Dracula, Dracula's Fiancee
2007 La Nuit des Horloges Other title - The Night of the Clocks
2010 Le Masque de la Méduse

Producer

Year Title Notes
1966 Tristesse des Anthropophages
1967 Faire Quelque Chose
1968 Le Viol du Vampire Other titles- The Rape of the Vampire, The Queen of the Vampires, Vampire Woman, La Reine des Vampires
1970 Le Frisson des Vampires Other titles - The Shiver of the Vampires, Sex and Vampires, Strange Things Happen at Night, The Terror of the Vampires, The Thrill of the Vampires, Vampire Thrills
1974 Tout le Monde il en a Deux Other titles - Bacchanales Sexuelles, Fly Me the French Way; Credited as Michel Gentil
1979 Jeux D'Adultes pour Gamines Expertes
1980 Minouche, Fillette Insatiable Other title - Unlimited Girls
1991 Et le Temps S'En Va... (Exclusive Producer)

Actor

Year Title Role Notes
1956 Crime et Châtiment Le Prêtre Chantant Uncredited; Other title - Crime and Punishment
1966 Tristesse des Anthropophages Un Client du Restaurant Scatophage Uncredited
1968 La Femme-Bourreau Un Flic Uncredited
1968 Le Viol du Vampire Villager Uncredited; Other title - The Rape of the Vampire, The Queen of the Vampires, Vampire Woman, La Reine des Vampires
1972 La Rose de Fer Uncredited; Other title - Rose of Iron, The Iron Rose
1973 Le Sourire Vertical Other title - The Vertical Smile
1974 Phantasmes Other titles - Phantasmes Pornographiques, Phantasmes D'Isabelle, The Seduction of Amy, Once Upon a Virgin
1974 Lévres de Sang Le Gardien du Cimetière Uncredited; Other titles - Lips of Blood
1975 Douches Pénétrations Le Chef Cuisinier Other titles - Sweet Penetrations, Gode Story; Credited as Michel Gentil
1976 Amours Collectives Mike Gentle the Vampire Other title - Love Story; Credited as Michel Gentil, (Scenes deleted)
1977 Discosex
1978 Hyperpénétrations Other title - Par Devant Par Derriere; Credited as Robert Xavier
1978 Remplissez-Moi...Les 3 Tours Credited as Robert Xavier
1978 Lèvres Gloutonnes
1978 Les Raisins de la Mort Worker at the Vinyard Other titles - The Grapes of Death, Pestizide, Pesticide, The Raisins of Death, Foltermühle der Gefangenen Frauen
1979 Entrez Vite...Vite, Je Mouille! Credited as Michel Gentil
1980 Clinique pour Soins très spéciaux
1980 Le Lac des Morts Vivants Stiltz Other titles - Zombie Lake, Zombie's Lake
1982 La Morte Vivante Salesman Uncredited; Other titles - The Living Dead Girl, Lady Dracula, Queen Zombie, Scare: Dead or Alive
1984 Les Trottoirs de Bangkok Un Tuere Uncredited; Other title - The Sidewalks of Bangkok, Streetwalkers of Bangkok
1985 Sanguine L'editeur
1991 À la Poursuite de Barbara
1992 Trepanator Dr. Roll
1993 Dinosaur from the Deep Professeur Nolan
1997 Marquis de Slime Homme du Gouvernement
2007 Life Like The Director
2010 Le Masque de la Méduse L'homme qui Enterre la Tête

Television

Writer

Year Title Notes
1990 La Griffe d'Horus Other title - The Claw of Horus

As himself

Year Title Notes
1998 French Love
1999 Eurotika! 1 episode - Vampires and Virgins: The Films of Jean Rollin
2003 Si la Mére Supérieure se Coiffe d'un Entonnoir...
2004 Celluloid Horror
2005 Michel Rocas, Roi du Nanar? TV Movie
2006 L'age d'or du X TV Movie
2009 Jean Rollin, le Rêveur Égaré

Thanks

Year Title Notes
1968 La Femme-Bourreau Thanks
1985 Le Clown Nécrophile Dedicatee

Further reading

  • Virgins & Vampires: Jean Rollin. Contains essays by Jean Rollin, edited by Peter Blumenstock. Includes CD soundtrack from Les Deux orphelines vampires. Limited edition of 300 copies, autographed by Jean Rollin. (Crippled Publishing, 1997, ISBN 3-9805820-0-0).
  • Video Watchdog #31. Peter Blumenstock interviews Rollin (1995).
  • Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies 1956-1984 (1994) by Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs. Dedicates a chapter to Rollin.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jean Rollin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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