Frederic is a maternally-dominated young man who by chance is awakened to a dormant childhood memory while attending the launch party of a new perfume. A chateau pictured in the perfume’s poster reminds him of a night, long ago, when he was lost and a beautiful young woman came out of nowhere to protect him through the night. Later, the woman—unaged—magically appears and beckons to him, and Frederic finds his way back to the chateau and to her, uncovering some dark secrets about his family’s past along the way.

Lips of Blood was French horror-erotica auteur Jean Rollin’s favorite of his own films and it contains many of his signature elements: crumbling seaside ruins, bloodthirsty vampires, poetically haunting cinematography and suspenseful intrigue. Of all his films, it perhaps best transcends his tendencies toward the poetical and arcane, while remaining at the same time true to his most personal, recurring obsessions: childhood, nostalgia, lost love, romantic quests, the cinema, obsolescence. Aided by a young Jean-François Robin, whose later talents as a cinematographer would spice up films in the 1980s by Jacques Demy and Andrzej Żuławski, as well as the Cinéma du look classic Betty Blue, Lips of Blood is one of Rollin’s most beautiful works.

Selected by Artist in Profile Sophia-Al Maria, who will introduce the film

Jean Rollin

Jean Rollin (1938–2010) was a French film director, actor, and novelist. His career, spanning over fifty years, is perhaps most associated with his first four vampire classics Le viol du vampire (1968), La vampire nue (1970), Le frisson des vampires (1970), and Requiem pour un vampire (1971).

His films are noted for their exquisite, if mostly static, cinematography, off-kilter plot progression and poetic dialogue, their playful surrealism and recurrent use of well-constructed female lead characters. Outlandish denouments and abstruse visual symbols were trademarks throughout his 'dark fantasy' career. Remarkably, in spite of their seeming high production values and precise craftsmanship, his films were made with very little money, and often under crushing deadlines. In the mid-1970s, lack of regular work led the director to direct mostly pornographic films under various pseudonyms, a process he kept on going up until the 1980s.

An utterly unique auteur fusing fantasy, horror and erotica, Rollin's career has been in renaissance over the past decade, with a series blu-ray releases, multiple vinyl reissues by Finders Keepers/B-Music of soundtracks from his films, and books like Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin, an anthology comprised of writings by women critics, scholars and film historians.

Filmography

The Mask of Medusa (Le masque de la Méduse, 2009), La nuit des horloges (2007), La fiancée de Dracula (2002), Two Orphan Vampires (Les deux orphelines vampires, 1997), Killing Car (La Femme Dangereuse, 1993), Lost in New York (Perdues dans New York, 1989), Sidewalks of Bangkok (Les trottoirs de Bangkok, 1984), The Living Dead Girl (La morte vivante, 1982), Zombie Lake (Le lac des morts vivants, 1981), The Escapees (Les paumées du petit matin, 1981), The Night of the Hunted (La nuit des traquées, 1980), Fascination (1979), The Grapes of Death (Les Raisins de la mort, 1978), Phantasmes (1975), Lips of Blood (Lèvres de sang, 1975), The Demoniacs (Les Démoniaques, 1974), A Virgin Among the Living Dead (with Jesús Franco & Pierre Quérut, 1973), The Iron Rose (La rose de fer, 1973), Requiem for a Vampire (Requiem pour un vampire, 1971), The Shiver of the Vampires (Le frisson des vampires, 1971), The Nude Vampire (La vampire nue, 1970), The Rape of the Vampire (Le viol du vampire, 1968), The Far Country (Les pays loin, 1965), The Yellow Loves (Les amours jaunes: Evocation de Tristan Corbiere, 1958)