I’m listening to a lot of jazz at the moment and I mention this because in a strange way I've always associated Franco with Jazz. One of the first things I discovered about Franco was that he was passionate about Jazz. He often signed his films with the director-pseudonym Clifford Brown, the name of an influential American trumpeter who recorded in the '50's before his untimely death at 25 in a car accident. I would even suggest that Franco's body of work perfectly embodies the spirit of Jazz. One of Cinema's most prolific auteurs, Franco's filmography is a vast ocean of shifting styles and moods, and like Jazz is complex, formidable, it resists any easy definition of what it is exactly. His films include plenty of bum notes and fluffed solos, but he also made films that were blazingly progressive, full of emotion and liberation.
|Black Angel's Death Song... Jess Franco on trombone in Venus In Furs (1969)|
Franco was legendary for his rapid-fire work rate, stories about the director juggling three of four films simultaneously may well be true (Franco has always denied this), his sprawling filmography reads less like a director's CV and more like a list of sessions by a jobbing horn player. Jimmy Cobb who played drums on Kind of Blue, once described Miles Davis' great masterpiece as "just another date" and one wonders if Franco thought a masterpiece like Succubus, or Eugenie de Sade was "just another production". Probably. Franco had little regard for his own films and would always say he was happy just making movies. The final word goes to the man himself. When asked in 2009 why he made films, Franco replied, "Because I love Cinema. It is the most important thing to me. Life is Cinema"