Friday, April 20, 2012

Night of the Hourglass (2007)

In 2004 Salvation Films wrote this on their homepage: "Rollin says that his days are numbered. I don’t mean by that that Rollin is going to die tomorrow, but that he is going to die sooner rather than later, and because of this he is putting his affairs in order and tying up lose ends". In the same text his next movie is mentioned, titled "Transfiguration of the Night", "a dark, beautifully macabre, and in the circumstances, very poignant film. To be shot in France and Florence, and featuring the stunning and very special actress Ovidie, it promises to be a very surprising swansong to Rollin’s career."

In 2007 Night of the Hourglass came and delivered the promises above, a perfect swansong (he actually made one more movie, The Mask of Medusa - read an excellent review here) connected to his whole life, especially his cinematic life, starring French porn actress Ovidie. It took me a few years to see it, but today - five years after its released I finally took the time to see it. I felt it was something that could wake me up from the darkness, from the constant depressions that plagues my mind. I won't bother with explaining the story, it's not necessary. Night of the Hourglass is all about nostalgia, but that kind of good nostalgia that doesn't shy away from what Rollin's life was all about: telling stories. Ovidie walks through the french countryside, looking for the dead director Michel Jean (without being in the movie, Jean Rollin himself), but instead of finding him she's meeting his characters, those ghosts, vampires and oddities that inhabits his world.

We're meeting Dominique, Jean-Loup Philippe, Natalie Perrey, Françoise Blanchard and others from Rollin's past, now aged, but intercut with they young versions of themselves, from that time when everything seemed impossible. Familiar locations, props and houses appears. It's very nostalgic, but never to that point of crying and sobbing. Rollin was here well aware of his illness and obviously decided to treat his future death in a very straight way. Like he wanted everyone, including himself, to accept that this is the way it is, that damn life. In the last scene Ovidie is walking around, after burning the clock that leads to Rollin's world, and we hear a voice over how hard it is to find Rollin's grave, like it's almost lost. Maybe just a mystery like the world he created for so many years. This reminded me of Mr J's fantastic post about his search for Rollin's final resting place, a must read.

Night of the Hourglass is for the fans, those who appreciated and supported Rollin over the years. It's pure love towards us all that cared. It's also a sign of respect to his amazing crew and cast that followed him on his adventures since the late sixties. One actress, who I can't identify, also tells a story that she was in one of his first movies, a lost movie, as a girl stepping into a train. I love details like that. And I love the love that these actors and actresses is giving Rollin by participating.

Interesting enough he never visits the beach, "his" beach. It's visible in footage from his old movies, but there's no new footage from it. But they're talking about it, and Ovidie gets the opportunity to visit the beach by stepping inside the clock - but she refuses.

...And the beach continues to be a fairy tale, a place we only can visit in real life - outside the movies. I will, one day. I promise.

To drink a glass of red wine to the honour of Jean Rollin.


CiNEZiLLA said...

Wonderful, makes me feel guilty about buying that disc for that really expensive price and then just sticking it on the shelf.

Yeah, we should plan a pilgrimage in his footsteps.

That would be awesome.


Anonymous said...

Fred/Ninja:´re back!!!

Well....this was interesting read...I have never seen a film by Rollin yet....buuuuut this review makes me want to see one....soon....thanks Ninja.

Ninja Dixon said...

We need to do that J...

...and yeah, I never seem to be able to let go of this place. You need to see a Rollin movie, but start with Grapes of Death or The Living Dead Girl, then go to Lips of Blood and the rest - and take this one far down the road.

Anonymous said...

Ninja: Ok...thanks...keep blogging....a pause now and again is needed I guess....but you can´t quit......there will always be a need for these kind of blogs.

Remember that Ninja/Fred!

Alex B. said...

The Ninja is back! Awesome!