Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Madeleine Cemetery

A haunting image of a clown standing sentry over a forgotten final resting place, an astonishing moment of poetic sadness from The Iron Rose… I watched Jean Rollin’s 1972 masterpiece at the weekend and days later the film still occupies my thoughts, the film’s melancholic undercurrent has me in gloomy contemplation. And to purge myself of the film, I’m indulging in a spot of armchair tourism, sifting thru photographs of Madeleine Cemetery, the film’s extraordinary central location. I’m pleased to report the cemetery still retains the same overgrown complexion as seen in Rollin’s film, the wrought iron railings and stone works still doing battle with weathering and the surrounding vegetation. The dilapidated graveyard is an overworked image of Gothic Horror and yet the appeal of these abandoned places remains as powerful as ever. It’s not nearly as rustic as Madeleine, but I have very fond memories of spending a beautiful autumnal afternoon at Paris’ sprawling Père-Lachaise cemetery, strolling among the exquisitely carved Gothic tombs sheltering their cargo from the roar of the city outside. Père-Lachaise has a number of famous inhabitants and looking through the pictures of Madeleine I see Jules Verne chose the cemetery as his final resting place. I couldn’t help but notice the striking sculpture of Verne triumphantly emerging from his tomb, his arm reaching up to the sky, a pleasing counterpoint to the final shot of The Iron Rose as Françoise Pascal serenely embraces oblivion and descends into a crypt… Some pics of Madeleine Cemetery can be found here



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