Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lost in New York (1989)

Jean Rollin is one of the most poetic and personal filmmakers that ever graced the big screen with his presence. High with integrity (except when he's shooting pointless zombie-inserts for Franco's A Virgin among the Living Dead) and always with his trademarks: female love, with or without sexuality, graveyards, ruins and vampires. Lost in New York includes all these, but are much more odd. It tells the story of to little girls that gets draw into a book of adventures, ages and travels to New York where they get lost... and meet each other again. It's really nothing more. Rollin shot the scenes in NY more or less impromptu and afterwards tied them together in this sad little love story. 

But is it any good? Oh yeah, it's a damn fine little movie but far from commercial in anyway. It's obviously a very personal work, and it's length of 52 minutes don't indicate that it was meant for a wider distribution. It's basically poetry in motion. Beautiful shots of New York - which makes me wanna go there again - and Rollin has perfectly caught that classic, but yet so realistic movie-New York in the camera. It's both a tourist-movie and an artmovie at the same time. Some stuff is also shot in Rome and in France, of course, but the main bulk - and the most spectacular one - is in the Big Apple.

So there's no special story, just footage of (all together) six actresses in different ages walking around. But it's the rhythm, the atmosphere that makes it. Rollin has a story, but the story is not built on intrigue, it's built on emotions, which is something a lot of stories lack. Sure, people can laugh or cry, but is that something that makes them human? Lost in New York has three parts that I will always remember. First of all, a montage of drawings from adventure, crime and thriller-books. Those cheap ones, sold for a penny or two in the nearest kiosk. Over this is a voice over where one of the girls is telling us who they became through the books, which places they visited and where they went after that. The last example is Jean Rollins own Fascination. Brilliant. 

Then we have a stunning location on top of a house in the middle of New York. There's skyscrapers all around it, which makes it looks unreal. What a place to shoot a movie. And in the end, when the two young women finally finds each other in NY it's on top of the same bridge where the zombies walked in Fulci's Zombie Flesh-Eaters. At exactly the same place. For me it's a sign of where the love for eurocult has made me travel. From Fulci to Rollin, and everything in between. 

Included in the new DVD from Njuta Films is also a short movie by Rollin, Les Pays Loins. The cinematography is fantastic, black & white of course, and it's very, very arty and very very French. It's a minor work from Rollin, and shows us that Rollin was a director that got better and more mature in his work over the years. 

If you like your poetry in cinematic motion, this is the movie for you.

7 comments:

dfordoom said...

His more recent movies Two Orphan Vampires (1997) and Fiancée of Dracula show that he hasn't lost his touch. Both are well worth seeing. And he has a new movie out!

Ninja Dixon said...

A new movie? Which one is that? :)

dfordoom said...

La nuit des horloges. Well it's fairly new (2007) but I believe it's now on DVD, in France at least.

Alex Bakshaev said...

I love all Rollin's films except "Sidewalks of Bangkok".
This one I haven't seen yet but will have to check it out, since I like cheap arty minimalist films(preferably old).
I heard NY scenes for this were just stock footage, but your review seems to contradict that.

Ninja Dixon said...

Alex: There might be some stock footage, but it must be a very small amount - probably some houses and skylines in the beginning. Most of the New York-scenes includes the actors doing their minimalistic stuff :)

dfordoom said...

Alex, I just bought Sidewalks of Bangkok! I'll let you know if my opinion is more favourable!

Alex Bakshaev said...

Drofdoom: let me know what you make of it, I've not had anyone to discuss this one with yet!