Freddie Francis, 1917–2007


Pamela Franklin, Deborah Kerr and Martin Stephens: The Innocents (1961).

Freddie Francis, who died last week, was a great cinematographer, and (although he may not have wanted to be remembered for it) a not-so-great director of low budget horror films. His photography on Sons and Lovers (1960) and Glory (1989) won him Academy Awards, and he worked three times for David Lynch, on The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984) and The Straight Story (1999). He also photographed Cape Fear (1991) for Martin Scorsese. All that aside, my favourite work of his remains the incredible play of light and shade he achieved for Jack Clayton’s The Innocents, along with The Haunting (1963) one of the best ghost stories in cinema.

Previously on { feuilleton }
David Lynch in Paris
Inland Empire

The art of Félicien Rops, 1833–1898


Pornokrates (1878).

After Mr Peacay’s comments regarding Félicien Rops I thought it time to devote a post to this impious artist.

Rops, a Belgian working in Paris, is curious even by the standards of the disparate group who comprised the Symbolists and with whom he had some connections. Whereas many artists of the time might hint at a fashionable blasphemy or Satanism, Rops’ dealings with these subjects were unequivocal, as was the outright pornographic tone of many of his drawings. This can make much of his work seem modern in a way few artists of that period achieve today, and it’s a good bet that many Christians (especially those of the puritan American variety) would still find his pictures offensive. These weren’t the only works that Rops produced, there were plenty of landscapes and society portraits, but it’s these that he’s remembered for. Once again, posterity favours the forthright and the unique over uniformity and compromise.

The Félicien Rops Museum
Les Diaboliques by Barbey d’Aurevilly (1874): 8 illustrations
Gallery of pornographic drawings at Arterotismo

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