Date(s) - Tue. Apr. 16, 2013 - Tue. Apr. 30, 2013
12:00 am GMT

Microcinema [ ÊTRE]

Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare


A filmmaker ridiculed by film critics and genre fans alike, Jean Rollin (1938-2010) has only recently begun to find acceptance in his native France. Rollin was first discussed in a positive light in the Anglo-Saxon world by British author David Pirie, who championed him as a pioneer of the sex-vampire movie in his book The Vampire Cinema (1977). However, genre fans in North America only began to see Rollin’s films in earnest when a mail-order company called Video Search of Miami released “special edition” VHS tapes of his films in 1995. Rollin’s films have been described in often paradoxical ways, from poetic and literary, to absurdist and oneiric, to technically inept and narratively impenetrable. Hence, Rollin films occupy a liminal space in film history – where art-house horror mixes with sexual taboo, where the fantastique tradition mixes with the “serial film,” and where lyricism mixes with the macabre – resulting in a disarmingly unique and personal cinematic vision. This three-week course will examine the career of Jean Rollin (aka Michel Gentil) within the specific trajectories that inform his oeuvres as a French genre filmmaker: the history of the French fantastique, the impact of the surrealist movement, the historical (and political) context of sexploitation and pornography in the 1970s and 1980s, and finally, an aspect rarely discussed about his work, the influence of the Parisian Grand-Guignol theatre (1897-1962).

Note: Some of the reading material for this course will be in French.