couple meets at a wedding dinner and makes a date for the following
day. They meet at an abandoned train yard for a bicycle trek/picnic.
She grows tired in front of a huge old cemetery, so they decide to
explore. After their lunch, they are feeling amorous, and with
typical Rollin characters like a scary clown, a caretaker, an old
woman and a vampire hanging around, they go into a crypt for
privacy. When they emerge, it is dark, and as they try to find their
way out, they give in to panic and then insanity. She finds peace,
somehow, through an iron rose ornament, then we have an interlude at
the seashore with her walking naked. Finally, she must return and
join him for eternity.
The Iron Rose, one of director Jean Rollin's most
obscure films, will likely be found in the horror section of your
favorite video outlet, but is
not conventional horror by any stretch of the imagination. Rollin
calls it an art film and my high school English teachers would have loved
it since it is dripping with obvious symbolism. The imagery, as is
always the case with Rollin's films, is hauntingly beautiful, the
pace is deliberate, and the star beautiful.
I have always believed Jean Rollin's films are a genre unto
themselves, and this one is a quick watch, and fascinated me. So
what does it mean? Honestly, I have no idea.
I think the following theory would have gotten me an A in Senior
"The couple meet and begin their journey at a wedding, which is
all about beginnings. We then go into the journey portion of their
life together, as evidenced by the trains, then the bicycles, then
finally the walk in the cemetery. Note that as they progress through
their lives, each mode of travel gets slower. Then they have sex,
presumably including orgasm, AKA, the little death, and find that
they are now permanently stuck in the cemetery. She accepts it
first, knows she is about to cross over to the other side as
symbolized by the seashore, and realizes that true freedom and
living is through death, but must help him accept it. Thus,
basically, this is Rollin's Thanatopsis, or view of death."
Yes, Mr. Clough would have been proud.