of Serge Jacques
B movies, or just plain bad movies?
For one single cinematic blockbuster, you have to count on average 4531 failures. However the real failures have that special something, and there is always something that sells them. That special something, that means that we still talk about Ed Wood and his Plan 9 from outer space or all of the works of the Troma Studio.
“Don’t forget as well James Whale”, adds Serge Jaques.
“Ah! How I loved his Frankenstien! How the whole world loved it! They were never big movies – and while they were bad, even though we look at them from today’s standards – they still were big films in the way they always responded to a demand: they all contained some big moments, both remarkable and memorable. For example, you remember it’s alive! The basis are the same as in my profession, we are trying to capture moments in time.”
Serge Jacques grew up on a cinema seat. The legend – or more precisely one of the legends associated with this photographer is that as a child he went to the cinema more often than he went to school. As a result his mental hard disk regurgitates these cinematic moments which have marked his life for more than half a century, and all have influenced his work.
“To tell things as they really are, I copy all these moments. How is it possible for an artist working with images to stay indifferent to them?
Even if they are just the ordinary visions of everyday life, or those magically crafted by the likes of John Ford or Sergio Leone.”
Serge Jacques is also part of an immense club – it counts about seven or eight members – the lovers of a certain Edward D. Wood Jr, who during the shooting of scenes for his legendary Plan 9 and other films, would arrive dressed in an angora sweater, or a baby doll pink dress.
“Tim Burton is also a member of this club, to the point where he made a whole film about him”, adds Serge Jacques.
He also is called upon as another source of inspiration.
“I am incapable of saying who has inspired me exactly, and I could not say precisely which film, or even what type of film gives me ideas. It is usually several weeks after finishing shooting, that the references I have used really become clear in my mind.”
“I cannot give you any other explanation of my career, or what you will call my style, I just look at my work as a pleasure. I did not choose to do photography to suffer. If I feel that a project is not working, I give up on it. I pay my models, I stop everything to go to California for a week, and when I come back, I start with new ideas that amuse me, like those which amused me whilst I created this portfolio.”
Serge Jacques starts to shuffle his photographs, as if he was playing with a pack of cards, but he does not keep his poker face going for a very long time.
“Look at this girl with eyelashes that have come straight out of the 1960’s. She could be on a poster for a James Bond film or something similar.
This beauty is captured with a red sun, inspired a bit by Samuel Fuller and Kurosawa.
The girl of the Grand Prix, has for a reference Steve McQueens Le Mans.
My prison guard is visibly a cousin of Ilsa, the SS she-wolf, and heroine of the film of Don Edmonds, and all the women in cages who populate the films of the Spanish Ed Wood, Jess Franco.
If now you have a quick look at the fat women who is wearing a red wig and her rather charming puppet resting on a yellow cushion, you will not have difficulty in guessing that the reference for this would be Fellini. You are going to say that the Maestro, has never in his life made a B-movie, and of course you would be right. It is fair to say that his works would be classed as some of the best A list films, even if an A+ film does include some B-movie moments, and we could also say some cartoon inspired parts…
The confessional scene could have come from Claude Mulot the producer of the Sex that talks, of Tinto Brass. Did you know that Fellini loved this erotic series of Tinto? He even used a number of his actresses.
The girl with the cigar and the Nazi officers, come directly from Damnés of Luchino Visconti.
The Miss Bondage in the car, combines the Daydream of the Japanese producer Tetsuji Takechi – a film so bad that he remade it just to try and improve his first effort!, and the woman in the car with glasses and a gun of Anatole Livak from the novel of Sébastien Japrisot. However I know that she was missing the glasses!
Frankenstein and his bride salutes, of course the memory of James Whale, but also that of Terence Fisher, who had continued in the same vein in the studios of Hammer in Bray.
The two models disguised as American football players, echo Mister Freedom of William Klein.
The blonde on the scrolled bed makes us think of the films of Hammer, can’t you hear Christopher Lee in the middle of sharpening his incisors on the balcony?
Certain of us would like to this that the clown and his mistress have been borrowed from the Ange Bleu, but they would be wrong. The real source, even if I had not realized it is the truly terrifying B-movie with Joan Crawford called Berserk!
Finally the very beautiful tomb stone with a gun on some leaves, very New England, is an echo of the works of Sir Alfred. You could give this portrait any title you like, but I personally called it ‘But Who Killed Hariette’.