Jean Rollin

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Jean Rollin
Jean rollin at his home.jpg
Jean Rollin
Born Jean Michel Rollin Roth Le Gentil
(1938-11-03)3 November 1938
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Died 15 December 2010(2010-12-15) (aged 72)
Paris, France
Occupation Director, actor, writer
Years active 1958–2010
Spouse(s) Simone Rollin (?–2010) (his death)

Jean Michel Rollin Roth Le Gentil (3 November 1938 – 15 December 2010) was a French film director, actor, and novelist best known for his work 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).[1] His films are noted for their exquisite, if mostly static, cinematography, off-kilter plot progression and poetic dialogue, their playful surrealism and recurrent use of well-constructed female lead characters. Outlandish denouments and abstruse visual symbols were trademarks throughout his 'dark fantasy' career. He was the first French director to recognise the acting capabilities of former porn actress Brigitte Lahaie, who took important roles in a number of his movies after appearing in Les Raisins de la Mort. Remarkably, in spite of their seeming high production values and precise craftsmanship, his films were made with very little money, and often under crushing deadlines. With Les Paumées du Petit Matin (or, The Escapees), for example, he was contracted to make the film within a month.

Early life[edit]

Jean Rollin was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine (now Hauts-de-Seine), France, to Claude Rollin, an actor and theatre director, who went by the stage name "Claude Martin", and Denise Rollin-Le Gentil, thus being born into an artistically inclined family.[2] His half-brother was actor Olivier Rollin.

Career[edit]

Early career and short films[edit]

Jean Rollin at the premiere of La Morte Vivante (1982)

Rollin had a passion for cinema from an early age. He saw his first film during the second World War, it was Capitaine Fracasse, a 1942 film directed by Abel Gance. Jean decided he want to make films when he grew up; his father, being a theatre actor, was a heavy influence on him. During his teens, he developed an obsession for American serials and read comic books. These serials were an obvious influence on him as a teenager. When he was 16, he found a job at Les Films de Saturne, he was there to help write invoices, and earned himself some money, and of course wanted to be involved in cinema. They specialized in creating opening and closing credits and short cartoons, but real films were also shot, and industrial shorts and documentaries were also made. Jean was part of the crew in a short documentary about Snecma, a big factory in France which built motors and planes. He arranged the tracking shots, laid the tracks, checked the electricity, and helped the cameraman. When Jean did his military service for the French army, he worked as an editor in the cinema department alongside Claude Lelouch. They worked on army commercials, Lelouch directed, and Jean did the montage, and also did two films, Mechanographie, a documentary, and La Guerre de Silence (The War of Silence), a real film with actors and a story. In 1958, he directed his first short film Les Amours Jaunes (The Yellow Lovers), which he directed after he left the army. He shot it on a 35mm Maurigraphe camera, and used a beach in Dieppe as his location, the same beach that was used in his later films. In 1960, Jean decided to direct his first feature film, but later abandoned the project as he had no money to finish it. His next short, Ciel de Cuivre (Sky of Copper), was directed in 1961, and was quite surreal, it told a sentimental story. He did not finish the film because he ran out of money and because it was not very good. The footage is now lost. In 1962, he was as an assistant director on the film Un Cheval pour Deux (A Horse for Two), which was not a great experience for him, and he decided to approach cinema in a different way. In the early sixties, Jean became interested in politics, and made a short documentary in 1964 called Vivre en Espagne (Life in Spain), it was about Generalissimo Francisco Franco, thirty minutes were filmed and it was not very good, but he risked a lot to get it made. Jean and the crew found themselves pursued by the police and just managed to make it back into France. Jean also directed a short film in 1965 called Les Pays Loins.

1968–1979[edit]

Rollin prior to receiving the Life Time Achievement Award at the Montreal Fantasia Film Festival on 15 July 2007

In 1968, Jean directed his first feature Le Viol du Vampire (The Rape of the Vampire). At the time he was still not known in the world of cinema, having only done a few short films and documentaries. The film was shot on a low budget, and consisted of two parts because it was originally supposed to be another short film, the second part was later added so that it was released as a feature film.[3] The release of Le Viol caused public scandal and outrage, his strong inspiration of American serials did not attract viewers. It was released during the events of May 1968, and due to the riots, it was a rare theatrical production at the time. Jean himself was also threatened due to this scandal,[4] because of this, Jean briefly decided to give up making films. His second feature La Vampire Nue (The Nude Vampire) was his first film in colour. It was mostly inspired by the 1916 film Judex, and also surrealism in general. Jean wanted to do something a little more temperate than Le Viol, a traditional mystery film. It is exactly the same kind of film as his first feature, it also has the same spirit. Le Frisson des Vampires (The Thrill of the Vampires) was heavily influenced by the trappings of the hippie movement. The film was his most successful and commercial film to date, it was made on a shoe-string budget and was a dreamlike fantasy film,[5] a theme his films are known for. In 1971, Jean directed Requiem pour un Vampire (Requiem for a Vampire), which became one of his most successful films, and it was another low budget production, which almost took no money to make. There was no dialogue in the first forty minutes of the films, this was to simplify the story, direction and cinematography.

During his lifetime, Rollin never shot his films on video but reverted from 35mm to 16mm.[6]

In the mid-70's, lack of regular work led the director to direct mostly pornographic films under various pseudonyms, a process he kept on going up until the 80's.

Death[edit]

Rollin died in December 2010 after a long illness. He is buried at cemetery Le Pere Lachaise in Paris, where his second son Carel also rests.[7]

Filmography[edit]

Title Year Director Writer Producer Actor Role English Title Notes
Le viol du vampire 1968
NoN
NoN
NoN
NoN
(uncredited)
Villager Rape of the Vampire
La vampire nue 1969
NoN
NoN
The Nude Vampire
Le frisson des vampires 1970
NoN
NoN
NoN
The Thrill of the Vampires Also titled "The Shiver of the Vampires
Requiem pour un vampire 1971
NoN
NoN
Requiem for a Vampire Also titled "Vierges et vampires"
La secte du diable 1971
NoN
Le prêtre sataniste
La rose de fer 1973
NoN
NoN
NoN
The Iron Rose
Jeunes filles impudiques 1973
NoN
NoN
(uncredited)
Man in red turtleneck Schoolgirl Hitchhikers Credited as Michel Gentil
Le sourire vertical 1973
NoN
The Vertical Smile
La nuit des étoiles filantes 1973
NoN
A Virgin Among the Living Dead Dream sequence only (added 1981)
Tout le monde il en a deux 1974
NoN
NoN
NoN
Fly Me the French Way Credited a Michel Gentil
Les démoniaques 1974
NoN
NoN
The Demoniacs
Phantasmes 1975
NoN
NoN
NoN
Once Upon a Virgin
Lèvres de sang 1975
NoN
NoN
NoN
(uncredited)
Lips of Blood
Douces pénétrations 1976
NoN
NoN
NoN
Le chef cuisinier Sweet Penetrations Credited as Michel Gentil
Suce moi vampire 1976
NoN
NoN
Suck Me Vampire Hard version of Lips of Blood
Credited as Michel Gand
La comtesse Ixe 1976
NoN
The Ninth Countess
Amours collectives 1976
NoN
NoN
Mike Gentle the Vampire Scenes deleted
Hard Penetration 1977
NoN
NoN
Credited as Michel Gentil
Vibrations sexuelles 1977
NoN
Sex Vibrations Credited as Michel Gentil
Saute-moi dessus 1977
NoN
NoN
NoN
Invité fin Credited as Michel Gentil
Positions danoises 1977
NoN
NoN
NoN
Danish Positions Credited as Michel Gentil
Les raisins de la mort 1978
NoN
NoN
NoN
The Grapes of Death Also titled "Pesticide"
Disco Sex 1978
NoN
NoN
(uncredited)
NoN
Sound Engineer Credited as Robert Xavier
Remplissez-moi... les 3 trous 1978
NoN
NoN
Credited as Robert Xavier
Petites pensionnaires impudiques 1978
NoN
Credited as Michel Gentil
Lèvres entrouvertes 1978
NoN
Parted Lips Credited as Michel Gentil
Lèvres gloutonnes 1978
NoN
Greedy Lips
Hyperpénétrations 1978
NoN
NoN
Credited as Robert Xavier
Gamines en chaleur 1979
NoN
Credited as Robert Xavier
Fascination 1979
NoN
NoN
Bouches lascives et pornos 1979
NoN
Credited as Robert Xavier
Pénétrations vicieuses 1979
NoN
Vicious Penetrations Credited as Michel Gentil
Jeux d'adultes pour gamines expertes 1979
NoN
Entrez vite... vite, je mouille! 1979
NoN
(uncredited)
NoN
Credited as Michel Gentil
La nuit des traquées 1980
NoN
NoN
The Night of the Hunted
Mondo Cannable 1980
NoN
(uncredited)
White Cannibal Queen
Clinique pour soins très spéciaux 1980
NoN
Minouche, fillette insatiable 1980
NoN
Le lac des morts vivants 1981
NoN
NoN
Stiltz Zombie Lake Credited as J.A. Laser
Les paumées du petit matin 1981
NoN
NoN
The Escapees Also titled "The Runaways"
La morte vivante 1982
NoN
NoN
NoN
(uncredited)
Salesman The Living Dead Girl
Rêves de sexes 1982
NoN
Credited as as René Xavier
Sodomanie 1983
NoN
NoN
Credited as Robert Xavier
Folies anales 1983
NoN
Credited as Robert Xavier
Les trottoirs de Bangkok 1984
NoN
NoN
(uncredited)
Un tuere The Sidewalks of Bangkok
Ne prends pas les poulets pour des pigeons 1985
NoN
Credited as Michel Gentil
Emmanuelle 6 1988
NoN
(uncredited)
NoN
Perdues dans New York 1989
NoN
NoN
Lost in New York
La griffe d'Horus 1990
NoN
NoN
The Claw of Horus Television film
À la poursuite de Barbara 1991
NoN
(uncredited)
NoN
In the Pursuit of Barbara
Trepanator 1992
NoN
Dr. Roll Direct-to-video
Alien Platoon 1992
NoN
Maj. Taylor Direct-to-video
Killing Car 1993
NoN
NoN
Bandaged man in car Filmed in 1989
Also titled "Femme dangereuse"

Credited as Michel Gentil in acting role
Dinosaur from the Deep 1993
NoN
Professeur Nolan Direct-to-video
Le parfum de Mathilde 1994
NoN
(uncredited)
NoN
The Perfume of Mathilde
Les deux orphelines vampires 1997
NoN
NoN
The Two Orphan Vampires Also writer of novel
La fiancée de Dracula 2002
NoN
NoN
The Fiancee of Dracula
La nuit des horloges 2007
NoN
NoN
The Night of Clocks
La femme-bourreau 2010
NoN
(uncredited)
Un flic
Le masque de la Méduse 2010
NoN
NoN
NoN
L'homme qui enterre la tête The Mask of the Medusa

Additional credits[edit]

  • La guerre du silence ... editor (short documentary; 1957)
  • Les mécaniciens de l'Armée de l'Air ... editor (short documentary; 1958)
  • Les amours jaunes ... director (short film; 1958)
  • Ciel de cuivre ... director (short film; 1961)
  • Un cheval pour deux ... assistant director (1962)
  • L'itinéraire marin ... writer (1963)
  • Vivre en Espagne ... director (short documentary; 1964)
  • Les pays loin ... director, writer (short film; 1965)
  • Tristesse des anthropophages ... actor, producer (short film; 1966)
  • Faire quelque chose ... producer (short film; 1967)
  • Tout le monde il en a deux ... production manager (credited as Jean Pierre Sammut; 1974)
  • Apothéose porno ... supervisor (uncredited; 1976)
  • Sanguine ... actor (short film; 1985)
  • Et le temps s'en va... ... executive producer (short film; 1991)
  • Marquis de Slime ... actor (short film; 1997)
  • Life Like ... actor (short film; 2007)

Recurring collaborators[edit]

Title
Actor Le viol du vampire La vampire nue Le Frisson des vampires Requiem pour un vampire La rose de fer Les démoniaques Lèvres de sang Les raisins de la mort Fascination La nuit des traquées Les paumées du petit matin La morte vivante Les trottoirs de Bangkok Perdues dans New York Killing Car Les deux orphelines vampires La fiancée de Dracula La nuit des horloges Le masque de la Méduse
Jean Aron Yes Yes
Anissa Berkani-Rohmer Yes Yes
Paul Bisciglia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Françoise Blanchard Yes Yes Yes
Jean-Pierre Bouyxou Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (voice) Yes
Willy Braque Yes Yes
Catherine Castel Yes Yes Yes
Marie-Pierre Castel Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bernard Charnacé Yes Yes
Jean Cherlian Yes Yes
Mireille Dargent Yes Yes Yes Yes
Michel Delahaye Yes Yes
Michel Delesalle Yes Yes
Louise Dhour Yes Yes Yes
Dominique Yes Yes Yes
Michel Frank Yes Yes
Cyrille Gaudin Yes Yes
Frederique Haymann Yes Yes
Jean Hérel Yes Yes
Brigitte Lahaie Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Marie-Laurence Yes Yes Yes
Maurice Lemaître Yes Yes
Sabine Lenoël Yes Yes Yes
Fanny Magier Yes Yes
Jacques Marbeuf Yes Yes
Raphaël Marongiu Yes (uncredited)
Bernard Musson Yes Yes
Bernard Papineau Yes Yes
Nathalie Perrey Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jean-Loup Philippe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ursule Pauly Yes Yes
Jacques Robiolles (Uncredited) Yes
Olivier Rollin Yes Yes Yes Yes
Thomas Smith Yes Yes
Evelyne Thomas Yes Yes
Sandrine Thoquet Yes Yes
Dominique Treillou Yes Yes
Cyril Val Yes Yes

Works[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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, Edition 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
  • Jean Rollin: cinéaste écrivain (2002) by Pascal Françaix (ABC Films Editions, ISBN 978-2-915160-05-5)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jean Rollin Biography, Film & Books". Myspace. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Jean Rollin Full Biography". nytimes.com. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Lawrence P. Raffel"The Rape of the Vampire (1968)". monstersatplay.com. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Simon Strong (March 2004) "Sous la páve, le pláge!: Lesbian Vampires Vs Situationist International". sensesofcinema.com. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Lucius Gore"Shiver of the Vampires (1970)". esplatter.com. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  6. ^ http://pidde-andersson.xomba.com/lost-interview-jean-rollin
  7. ^ RIP Jean Rollin Fangoria, 16 December 2010

External links[edit]