02 May, 2013

Jess Franco: Surrealist?

Rene Magritte's THE LOVERS vs Jess Franco's 99 WOMEN. Thanks to Howard S. Berger for leading me in the right direction... again! Coincidence... or how one artist influences another? This is one for the ARTS & IDEAS blog.... but I also thought it would be apropos here. Dali is the most famous Spanish Surrealist painter and Jess Franco has used imagery of his but this comparison illustrates other possible influences. Jess Franco is most definitely a Surrealist, a true Surrealist in the classic sense of applying the principles of that discipline to an underlying visual realism (cf the films of Luis Bunuel, who collaborated with Dali on UN CHIEN ANDALOU and L'AGE D'OR and also incorporates Magritte and other Surrealism imagery into his cinema).
The above image is part of Maria Rohm's back story flashback in 99 WOMEN, which is my favorite scene in the film.

Other excursions into Surrealism would appear in the Franco filmography. The 1967 game-changer for the director was NECRONOMICON aka Succubus, stuffed with surreal imagery,  erotic fantasies, S&M stage performances, a non linear construction and the indelible presences of Janine Reynaud, Michel Lemoine as the puppet and puppet master in a metaphysical puzzle.






A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD was another significant detour into the territory of Surrealism, featuring another female protagonist lost in a sinister netherworld of familial phantoms which lead her into madness and death. 
We'll be illustrating some more Jess Franco Surrealist adventures in future blogs.





(c) Robert Monell 2013

1 comment:

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