Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 26/08/2022

ORCHESTRATOR OF STORMS: THE FANTASTIQUE WORLD OF JEAN ROLLIN [FrightFest 2022]

Jean Rollin is a filmmaker who is often forgotten when one looks back at horror and fantasy cinema and those who have influenced others. However, Dime Ballin and Kat Ellinger’s documentary corrects that discrepancy with a thoughtful and discerning look at the French director’s work and life.

Rather than fill the screen with the usual subjects delivering their opinions, we have a range of people who either knew or worked with Rollin, and the result is a much more personal approach. The more recognisable names included are Brigitte Lahaie, who appeared in several of Jean’s films, including one of his most popular, Fascination (1979). No one can forget that iconic image of Brigitte brandishing a scythe in the promotional stills even if they never saw the film. The still-effervescent Françoise Pascal talks about the director fondly from her time making arguably one of his most beautiful films, La Rose de fer (The Iron Rose, 1973). Another rare talking head is Nigel Wingrove, head honcho of Redemption Films, who released many of Rollin’s films on VHS in the UK in the ‘80s.

Orchestrator of Storms gives a glorious appraisal and understanding of Jean Rollin’s movies and life and if you haven’t sampled any of his output, this documentary will inspire you to check them out, and for those of us already converted to the cause, it’s a fascinating and engaging insight.