Visually Overwhelming but Insufferably Boring Rollin-Nonsense
I cannot claim to be a connoisseur of the man's work so far, but personally I do not even nearly understand the enthusiasm that many of my fellow Eurohorror/cult fans seem to have about the films of Jean Rollin. Since this film is not one of his countless lesbian vampire flicks, but supposedly a Gothic chiller that many of Rollin's fans seem to regard as his masterpiece, I was looking forward to the film. Sadly, "La Rose De Fer" aka. "Rose of Iron" (1973) turned out one of the most nonsensical and insufferably boring European Horror productions (if one can even call it Horror). At least Rollin's lesbian vampire films were entertaining and made up for a lack of substance with gratuitous female nudity. "La Rose De Fer" is almost event-less. In one aspect, however, the film is phenomenal: The film is fantastically shot in a an old cemetery, which is arguably one of the most beautiful, eeriest and most fascinating Horror settings of all time. The film is visually overwhelming, thanks to this fantastic setting and a beautiful photography. Yet, a mesmerizing setting is no excuse for making a film in which NOTHING happens! The film begins when a creepy-looking guy and a pretty girl fall in love and make arrangements to go bike-riding the next day. They stop at an old cemetery, fail to find their way out and get locked in. As night falls, both of them begin to act strangely (or should I say: annoyingly)...
As said above, the film's setting is fantastic, eerie, and unspeakably beautiful, and I would certainly like to visit the depicted cemetery some day. This is arguably why so many people seem to love this film - it is visually flawless, the trees and the beautiful tombstones and grave statues create a wonderful, fairy-tale-like atmosphere. The stunning visual style may overwhelm, but I cannot imagine whose attention it is going to uphold for the length of a film. "La Rose De Fer" is only 77 minutes long, and yet it seems endless, since there are no real events, just a compilation of weird, but nonetheless boring nonsensical sequences. Everything the protagonists say is nonsense, everything they do is nonsense, and the fact that the nonsense takes place in a great setting only makes up for a tiny part of the boredom. There is no suspense, no blood and very little nudity to make up for the lack of a plot. The film is apparently based on a poem by Tristan Cobìere, which may be the reason that people call it 'poetic'. "La Rose De Fer" may be watched for the stunning visual style, but its lack of events makes it one of the most boring affairs I ever sat through. In fact, it took me three takes to watch the complete film since I fell asleep twice. I'm giving it a rating of 3 out of 10 ONLY for the fantastic visual style, otherwise the film is a disaster.
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