24 February, 2012


[I would like to thank Alain Petit for being kind enough to write this memoir of the late Lina Romay. Alain is a noted film historian who wrote the essential Jess Franco study, THE MANACOA FILES. He also was a close friend and collaborator with Jess and Lina since the early 1970s. Alain contributed to the scripts of several Jess Franco films featuring Lina, including PLAISIR A TROIS (1973) and LES NONNES EN FOLIE (1974). He also appeared as an actor (billed as Charlie Christian) opposite Lina in MIDNIGHT PARTY, DE SADE'S JULIETTE (both 1975) and TENDER FLESH (1997)]

Yesterday I heard about Lina's death. For a moment, I just couldn't believe it . When I read the official newspaper report I can't explain how sad I felt and still do...

I met Lina during the winter of  1973 when Marius and Daniel Lesoeur invited me to the shooting of LA COMTESSE NOIRE. I immediately fell under her charm, as did everyone else on the set. She was so beautiful, so simple, she illuminated every place she went. I remember one scene, she was naked in a crypt and it was freezing. When the shot was over, I  put my coat on her shoulders. More than 20 years later, she still remembered that moment, telling me "No one else except you had the idea I was dying from the cold." I was very moved by the fact she did not forget. She was like that, an example of fidelity in friendship. We became friends, and later I had the chance to be take part in several films in which she was the undisputed Star: DE SADE'S JULIETTE, MIDNIGHT PARTY.. I also witnessed the shooting of SHINING SEX, one of her best dramatic roles, and later in 1997 : TENDER FLESH.

The last time we met was in Paris when Jess and her came for a special screening of MIDNIGHT PARTY at the Cinémathèque. She was the same, always joking, mocking me (but so gently), full of life and so much in love with Jess. Once, in a Torremolinos restaurant, in front of Jess, she told me she felt in love immediately with him. They were riding in the same elevator. "I knew the minute I saw him he was about to become the one and only man in my life". The love they had one for each other was evident in all of their acts and words. Jess and Lina were the irrefutable proof that True Love exists and defies the terrible march of time.

A few weeks ago, the restored version of CELESTINE was shown on a French TV channel. Each time I watch this film, I fall immediately under Lina's spell. CELESTINE is a celebration! It's something magic. She has never been so beautiful, so bright. She is the right one at the right place: SHE IS CELESTINE!!! Last night we had a little email conversation with dear friend Francesco Cesari and he had such a nice feeling about CELESTINE. You know how I feel today and as words cannot explain it, I prefer leave the final words to Francesco:

"CELESTINE is her sunniest rôle, and maybe her best. The way she leaves the house at the end of the film is something incredible...the way she looks around, the kiss...I agree, it's absolutely touching, even being a comedy."

Lina has left the house, but I am sure that, like Celestine, she sent a kiss to all her fans and friends all around the world before she left. 

Alain Petit, Feb. 24, 2012

*IMAGE: Silvia (Lina Romay), a ditzy stripper, addresses the audience  in Jess Franco's 1975 interactive spy-erotic comedy-thriller MIDNIGHT PARTY/LA PARTOUZE DE MINUIT/LADY PORNO/LA COCCOLONA. 


David A. Zuzelo said...

Thank you for posting this, and thank you for the insights Alain.

Patrick said...

Beautifully written Alain, a nice read that warms up my heart. Thank you for posting it Robert.

scott said...

Thank you, Alain!

loner said...

one of the good actress and good human....