JEAN ROLLIN-UARY: Phantasmes (1975)

AKA The Seduction of Amy, this film finds Jean Rollin stuck yet again in that horrible trauma of having no money to make the movies that he wants to make and instead making adult films and trying to sneak in art amongst all the same old in and out.

It’s set in a castle where de Sade once performed black magic rites and there’s a beach — there’s always a beach — and the Castel twins show up and spank one another, so I’m not made of stone, you know? That said, it’s kind of a kick in the pants to go from slow drone Rollin to just basic coupling and it’s so static and clinical and there it is — just coitus — when I’ve been inside the magical movie drug world, you know?

Back in Video Watchdog #31, Rollin said very much the same: ” I was sure that, with this type of film, one could come up with something new and of interest. I tried with Phantasmes but failed miserably. The reason for the death of French hardcore culture, if you want to use that term, is that the audience just doesn’t care. They don’t want cinema, they want people screwing and that’s it. That’s why after Phantasmes, I made my porn films in a rather uninspired way. I was very disappointed with the failure of that film. I really tried to make something out of it and nobody gave a damn. It was a porno with a real story, with real direction and real actors. The Castel Twins were in it again, for example. Knowing what I know now, I would say it is impossible to turn pornography into something of interest. There is simply no market. I don’t like the other porn films I did, that’s true, but I enjoyed shooting them. I made the acquaintance of a lot of very interesting people and I have respect for them. Today, the actors only do it for money, but back then, it was something different. Some of them did it because they wanted to explore their desires, some because they wanted to enter the film business, but they all had something in common. They were proud of what they did, like a little group of outsiders, because they did something which most people didn’t dare to do. It was some sort of rebellion, a statement, and it was honest.”

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