ARROW is excited to announce the exclusive release of Dima Ballin and Kat Ellinger’s acclaimed documentary Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin, available 14 February in the US, Canada, UK and Ireland. Streaming at arrow-player.com
Has there been a genre artist more fundamentally misunderstood and inappropriately discussed than Jean Rollin? He remains one of genre cinema’s most singular poets, a theatrical fantasist, interpreter of dreams, orchestrator of storms. His recurring use of twin or paired protagonists and surrealistic interpretations of vampirism, with tones that were often in the midnight space between gothic literature and fairy tale, his sense of humour and intellectual musings, his sumptuous visual ideas, coming together to make inspired works of genre art that ran against nearly all traditions of the times they were made in.
Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin tells the story of one of Eurocult cinema’s most singular voices. Deeply misunderstood and widely misrepresented, during his decades-long career as a film director, Rollin’s work received absolutely no recognition in his native country of France, and was completely unknown anywhere else. In the nineties, because of home video, Rollin attained a marginal cult status in niche English-speaking genre circles. Otherwise he has remained completely obscure.
Rollin was raised within the bosom of some of France’s most influential and intellectual elites, thanks to his mother Denise’s friendship with figures such as Maurice Blanchot, George Bataille, Jean Cocteau, as well as Jacques and Pierre Prévert. Similarly his father was a director in avant garde theatre, exposing Jean to some of France’s most interesting aspects of culture. It is perhaps not surprising that when it came to making his films, Jean Rollin’s were unlike anything else on the scene.
Once you dig into the director’s life and passions, what emerges is a strong connection to the French surrealists, to symbolist art, to the poetry of TristanCorbière, to the French anarchist scene in the sixties, and counterculture. Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin sets out to tell this story in an attempt to elevate the director’s work by exploring it in depth alongside these major influences, as well as other key themes such as the tradition of the French Fantastique.
The film also looks at his frustrations, the way in which he had to constantly grapple and scramble for funding as one of the only filmmakers predominantly working within the horror genre through the sixties and seventies. Most importantly, it examines his singular vision, one that ran completely counter to other western traditions in genre film.