Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World Of Jean Rollin (2022)

This year began for me with the deepest of dives into all things Rollin, so when this movie was announced, I was quite excited. Dima Ballin and Kat Ellinger have been working for some time to make this film which attempts to get the world to recognize him as “one of genre cinema’s most singular poets.”

The film does a fine job of explaining how the artist was misunderstood and dealt with bad luck, continually having to return to making adult films just to survive and then barely knowing that he was a recognzied cult director before his death. It also adds a lot of depth to his childhood, his relationship with his mother and how he was inspired to make films.

Yet there are moments where — outside of heartfelt words by Brigitte Lahaie and Françoise Pascal, as well as no small amount of tear-inducing emotion over the loss of Rollin from this world — it seems that everyone is so academic in their appreciation that someone who has never seen one of his films may get the idea that they’re just as well-mannered. And the truth is, they’re anything but. Rollin’s films exist somewhere between childhood memory and adult waking nightmare, filled with surrealistic imagery of vampire emerging from clocks, bats affixing themselves between women’s legs and always a beach being wandered or a cemetery to be trapped within.

I realize that Rollin doesn’t need hyperbole to sell his work, but perhaps a bit more passion would go somewhere. That said, it’s obvious that this film’s creators have a worthy mission and that’s to elevate Rollin above more than simple Eurosleaze. Even in his native France, he was not well-considered and that’s a shame. So I’m pleased that this exists and hope that if someone watches it, they immediately go out and start to explore his movies for themselves and get high off the finest strain of movie drugs.

The true shame of it all is that Rollin is not around to know that today he is synonymous with a style of filmmaking that is uniquely his. I was most struck by a quote by Jean Cocteau in this film that sums up who Rollin was and why he remained devoted to making films that are uniquely what he wanted them to be and not producers or even audiences: “What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.”

You can stream this movie on the Arrow player. Visit ARROW to start your 30-day free trial. Subscriptions are available for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly. ARROW is available in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc), Apple TV & iOS devices, Android TV and mobile devices, Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc), and on all web browsers at https://www.arrow-player.com.

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