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Fascination (The Cinema of Jean Rollins)

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  •  
    Todd Jordan
    Smut is good.

  • Fascination (The Cinema of Jean Rollin)



    Released by: Kino Lorber/Redemption Films
    Released on: 1/24/2012
    Director: Jean Rollin
    Cast: Brigitte Lahaie, Franca Mai, Jean-Marie Lemaire, Cyril Val, Fanny Magier
    Year: 1979
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Movie:

    This period film, taking place at the beginning of the 20th Century, begins with a number of high society women going to a slaughterhouse. The mission: to drink blood. The reason: it cures anemia. The local doctor swears by it and the women seem to be fond of the blood…too fond. In fact they seem to get aroused by it. And the butcher seems to get a kick out of watching them drink the blood, but that's about as far as he gets with these ladies.

    The story shifts focus to a man conducting some shady dealings with a group of locals, who ends up robbing the robbers and making a run for it. He finds sanctuary in a chateau inhabited by to gorgeous women, Eva (Brigitte Lahaie) and Elisabeth (Franca Mai), two servants waiting for the mistress of the place to arrive. The man on the run, Mark (Jean-Marie Lemarie), hides out from the people after him with plans of leaving at nightfall. These two ladies are not afraid of him; in fact they want him to stay. Eva seduces Mark, and being the lesbian lover to Eva, Elisabeth is a bit jealous of what's going on. Her jealousy comes out in a weird fashion though and she decides she wants Mark for herself.

    Meanwhile, outside the people looking for the gold coins Mark stole from them make their move and start a gun fight. Eva decides to give them the money and goes out to meet them. She ends up being forced to have sex with the apparent leader (played by Cyril Val) before she takes care of things in her own fashion. With that distraction out of the way, the ladies can get things ready for their vistors: a group of society ladies coming together for a secret meeting led by Helene (Fanny Magier). Mark is convinced to stay for the secret meeting and before the pale-skinned ladies get what they're after, Elisabeth makes her move to have him all to herself. But is that really her agenda? And just what do these women want?

    Crammed to the maximum with atmosphere and gorgeous women, Fascination is at times visually stunning. Not just because it has one of the most beautiful women ever to get naked before the camera (yes, that would be you, Ms. Lahaie), but also due to the location. The chateau lends itself nicely as the backdrop for the story and adds a curious combination of being inviting but at the same time being cold and not so enticing. The photography is incredibly appealing, even when nothing much is happening, and part of that appeal is the use of long, static shots that are expertly framed.

    The use of imagery is strong here, from the disturbing slaughterhouse scene with the women walking through entrails while wearing long dresses that dip in the blood and gore, to Brigitte crossing the moat bridge wearing a flowing black cape and carrying a scythe (she looks like a sexy grim reaper). And Brigitte isn't the only one worth drooling over either. Franca Mai, Fanny Magier, Muriel Montossé, Sophie Noí«l and Agní¨s Bert are easy on the eyes as well. When they change into see-through red pieces of flowing material, with nothing underneath, try not to stare. Just try.

    The movie dialogue is in French, with English subtitles, but Rollin knew what he was doing in keeping it light on the conversation. Instead the focus is on visuals, and a non-French speaking person will probably be able to watch the film without subtitles and know what's going on. The pacing is tedious at times, but the director keeps your eyes on the screen and away from the clock pretty well, and at 81 minutes it's easy to sit through. This viewing of Fascination is the first Jean Rollin movie this reviewer has ever seen, and it seems like a great jumping on point for others newcomers to the man's work.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Redemption gives Rollin's movie the hi-def treatment with this 1080p AVC encoded transfer, sporting a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. White specks appear throughout the film, although its not a distraction at all. The image is a bit soft sometimes, but detail is pretty good. The colors are nice and don't look washed out, and the black levels look pretty solid. Overall it's a very satisfying display. The audio is an LPCM 2.0 channel French language track with English subtitles. It's very clear, and free of any glaring problems, other than that the music seems really loud compared to the dialogue.

    The extras include two deleted sex scenes (both with Brigitte, and with the two men she boinks in the movie) running about 8 minutes a piece. A note on the disc says these were filmed in case the movie had to be made into a softcore one in order to sell to certain markets. There's five HD trailers for Kino/Redemption movies being released under the label “The Cinema of Jean Rollin”: Fascination, The Iron Rose, The Shiver of the Vampire, Lips of Blood, and The Nude Vampire. Also, a 24-minute episode of the television series “Eurotica!” is included, exploring the director's work. Finally a 20-page booklet is the Blu-ray case, with an essay by Video Watchdog's editor Tim Lucas. It covers the five films in the series and is included with each of the five discs.

    The Final Word:

    What else needs to be said? An awesome chateau, lots of nudity, and Brigitte Lahaie. Go get it. The end.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






























    • paul h.
      #1
      paul h.
      woly boly
      paul h. commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice review, Todd! Upper tier Rollin & Lahaie. Looks like a fine disc. Hubba hubba.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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