Monday, March 28, 2011

Honourable Mention: Lost in New York

Of the recent deaths of genre personalities I think the one that affected me the most was the death of Jean Rollin. Of course I never knew him personally but one felt that you knew the man through his body of work. Indeed, more so than many directors, Rollin placed a large part of himself in his films.

There was also the fact that there could never be another like him and no-one will make films like those he gave us. It was a bittersweet moment, then, to discover that there was a film by Rollin (short, at 50 minutes or so) that I hadn’t seen and that also had a vampiric aspect.

the vampire
Lost in New York was produced in 1989 and was filled with many of the themes that Rollin carried through his movies. The important place of the beach in his symbology, the weaving of dreams, the streets of New York… He recognises this in the story of Marie and Michelle, two young girls who are transported into works of fiction and then to the streets of New York through the medium of a Moon Goddess fetish. As a voiceover mentions the fictional works they enter it lists several of Rollin’s earlier works and where the girls were hidden within that work – such as within the musical box of the Living Dead Girl or the clock of Shiver of the vampire. The vampire is an important symbol in Rollin’s work and in this we meet the ‘white woman vampire who haunts New York’.

Marie offers her neck
The encounter is described as a dream within a dream. She approaches one of the two girls, who subsequently offers her neck to the vampire. Both girls have the same dream at the same time. The only difference, after the vampire has fed and the victim is led upon the ground to be found by her counterpart, was the colour of a rose that appeared, carried by the other girl, to be left with the body – a red rose for Marie’s dream and a white for Michelle. Michelle brings the rose to the corpse of her friend.

the dream dies with the dawn
As day breaks we see the vampire dead her face sore and blistered. Has she been killed by the sun? Only in a roundabout way, the dawn marks the waking hour, the time when the dream that created her drifts away and so the vampire’s death with the daybreak is the death of the dream. She drops a rose from her hand – red in colour.

That then is it – for the vampiric aspect. The film itself is not the easiest of Rollin’s work to watch as there is little narrative structure or plot. It is the auteur’s dreams given filmic form. The imdb page is here.

No comments: