Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Movies: Only Lovers Left Alive

(Drivebycuriosity) - Being a vampire is hard: No sunlight, a permanent thirst for blood and being an odd outsider in a world dominated by humans. But the rewards are rich: A sheer endless life; wealth, knowledge and taste accumulated over many centuries, supernatural skills and memories of encounters with many historical persons. These are the topics of many vampire movies, especially the better ones.  "Only Lovers Left Alive", that is now playing in US cinema theaters, is one of the best (imdb).

Jim Jarmusch, the director & script writer, showed again that he belongs to the masters of contemporary cinema. Once more he translated his original and often funny ideas in mesmerizing pictures.

The film tells an episode in the "life" of a married couple, both centuries old vampires, living in nightly suburban Detroit and Tangiers (Morocco), which combines the dullness of American suburbs with the exotical flavor of Northern Africa. Their strange existence gets more and more complicated and challenged (no spoilers as usual on this blog). Jarmusch, who gave an introduction last week at New York´s Sunshine Theater, calls his film a comedy.

I was fascinated by how realisticly Tilda Swinton impersonated a vampire. Her natural paleness, her androgenous style and her restrained way of acting made her to the most convincing exemplar of the bloodsuckers I have ever seen on screen. Tom Hiddleston, as her husband over many ages - a somewhat somber musician (composer for centuries!) and collector -, is a congenial partner.

It was heartwarming to see their literally endless love and perpetual affection for each other. I also was enthralled to watch them when their predatory instincts awake. Then they resemble cats who coldy spot their prey. John Hurt, an icon of British cinema ("Alien"), Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright also had remarkable appearances.

The cinematography, which blends nightly impressions of suburban Detroit and Tangiers with stylish interiors, creates a dense & enthralling atmosphere. The movie benefits a lot from the intense soundtrack, especially the heavy metal & grunge pieces by SQÜRL (Jim Jarmusch himself together with Carter Logan & Shane Stoneback). The musical climax was a live performance by Yasmine Hamdan, a singer from Lebanon - priceless (you can watch the scene on YouTube  youtube)

"Only Lovers Left Alive" is a very modern interpretation of the vampire theme and one of the best movies of the genre. Highly recommended!

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