There are few directors who have been so overlooked, misunderstood and derided as Jean Rollin. While he was classed as part of the Euro cult movement, the Frenchman didn’t easily fit into any genre or box. His work has often been dismissed as simply sexploitation or even pornography. In fairness, under the pseudonyms of Michel Gentil and Robert Xavier, he did make a number of adult movies in order to fund his personal projects. His work spanned five decades but he was most prolific during the 1970s and 1980s.
While his work was regularly denigrated during his lifetime, causing controversy and at times shunned, there has been a reassessment of his oeuvre since his death. The lurid visual flair, surrealist fervour, symbolistic joie de vivre, and let’s be fair, sexy vampires, are ripe for rediscovery. His films are artistic statements. Gothic fantastique. With an undercurrent of biting social commentary lurking underneath. Almost unique. Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin considers his appeal.
Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin is a fascinating journey through the life and work of one of cinema’s most singular pioneers. Directors Dima Ballin and Kat Ellinger concentrate on his films, using interviews and voiceover to navigate his body of work. Rollin will forever divide audiences, but his very personal take on fantasy and eroticism has much more going for it than initially meets the eye. Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin makes a strong case for a reappraisal.
Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin screens at Fantasia Film Festival.