THE IRON ROSE is a haunting experience - a macabre tone poem about youth and age, love and nihilism, nostalgia and superstition, and, above all, life and death. Francoise Pascal (There's a Girl in My Soup) and Hugues Quester (Three Colors: Blue) go on a metaphysical, Orpheus-like journey inside an ancient, all-but-abandoned graveyard but, as night falls, they cannot find their way out. As Quester's nihilism crumbles to impatience and terror, Pascal transfers her disappointed passion for him to the cemetery itself and becomes jubilantly (and dangerously) attuned to its dead. Pascal gives a remarkably intuitive performance, at times so spontaneous in spirit, one cannot imagine how parts of it were ever scripted.
The cemetery itself is analogous to Rollin's love for all things antiquarian, including the old train station and the nearly moribund city of Amiens. If Orson Welles was correct when he estimated that a film could only be considered good to the extent it represented the artist who made it, THE IRON ROSE is Jean Rollin's first authentic masterpiece.
(excerpt of the essay by Tim Lucas)