(1988, Jap, 70 min) Dir Helmut Durmou. Cast Setsuko Tanaka, Hiroshi Somai.
In 1986 Francois Fleider accidentally asphyxiated in whilst trying out a new modified harness/pillory post made by famed ‘device’ maker Jan Flugel-Flugel which left the previously secure Durmou without a steady patron. Thankfully his fans leapt to the rescue in the form of his Japanese fan base, the surprisingly well organised Helmut Durmou Appreciation Society, populated by various titans of industry. In honour of his new backers Durmou relocated to Japan for what was supposed to be a brief engagement but lasted until his recent death and was where all his subsequent films were made (barring Hard Light which was made in Italy but with an all-Japanese crew). Black Rose acts as a kind of low-budget aperitif in this respect, focussing on two people in one anonymous room, the kind typical to the average Tokyo apartment block which immediately sets it apart from his previous films which were always set in the opulent past, whether an imagined one or clearly defined era. The reason for this becomes immediately clear when the female lead is presented with the what is the centrepiece of the film – a Flugel-Flugel pillory post of the same ‘Black Rose’ design that ended the life of Durmou’s patron. He’s obviously working some stuff out here and as such he has, unusually, made a slow, mournful film for completists only. Nonetheless it remains a fitting tribute to his indulgent benefactor. His next film, Demon, was him back to form.