Yesterday filmmaker Jess Franco passed away. I have known this would happen eventually and had even prepared a few thoughts on the subject of his career recently but it was still a surprise to read of his death. I'll miss him.
I'll miss knowing that such a mad maverick is out there still tossing around ideas for cinematic ventures regardless of potential budgets. I can't say I enjoyed much of anything he has produced in the past twenty years but that doesn't matter. I have so much affection for his early work - call it his Golden Period- that his presence is felt almost every time I watch a movie. I am not ashamed to say that there are images and ideas from several of Franco's films that have stayed with me for years and continue to pop into my head given the slightest push. I think one of the things that should be explored by future film writers is his amazing eye for telling detail - detail that illuminates character and story in that magic way that only the moving picture can. Jess Franco was a creator of pure cinema and that is how I'll remember him. That he could shock me and occasionally put a smile on my face just made the trip through his head that much more fun. While the merits of his work may be debated for decades to come what he leaves behind is without a doubt a unique legacy. He was sometimes a maddening creator but he was always worth watching and he will remain so for as long as people are curious about what cinema can do.
I will miss you Jess Franco and so will the rest of the world- even if they don't know it yet. You may be gone but your influence and inspiration will live forever. Rest easy in the knowledge that there are plenty of us out here wishing you well and wishing you were here.