“The pain I feel is the pain of fleeting joy.”
Watching the art house vampire flick Nadja last night, from whence comes the quote. A very unusual vampire film by Michael Almereyda, shot in black and white and mixing the contrasting styles of 1920s/30s Expressionism with modern video techniques such as pixellation. Very modern but with classic touches, such as Nadja’s cloak (straight from 1936’s Dracula’s Daughter) or the scene where Lucy sees Nadja in her bathroom mirror despite the fact she’s not in the building, just as Susan Sarandon does in the style-over-substance (but enjoyable) The Hunger.
Nadja herself, like the film, is ethereal. Beautiful and distant she dominates the film despite often being as insubstantial as a summer daydream. And for some reason she reminds me of my friend Jane. The soundtrack is excellent and music by My Bloody Valentine and Portishead are used effectively. Peter Fonda’s bizarre van Helsing and Martin Donovan – a regular in Hal Hartley’s movies – are a bonus.
Followed this up with a very different art house vamp flick, Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction. Again shot in black and white, but a totally different style of film, an intellectual and cerebral approach to vampirism. Also very amusing to anyone who has ever studied in an undergraduate tutorial. Next on the vamp fest was Shadow of the Vampire, with John Malkovich as F.W. Murnau, recruiting a real vampire to shoot his unofficial adaptation of Dracula, Nosferatu. Another art house vampire movie but again very different in style and tone, but very unusual and enjoyable. I’m always pleased to see someone working a new angle on the old vampire genre; it’s not an easy thing to do. Now all I need is to add the newly released DVD of Near Dark by Kathryn Bigelow to my collection, a fascinating cross of vampire and Western genres (and a tad more successful than previous attempts to cross those genres such as Billy the Kid Versus Dracula – shudder). Naturally all watched by flickering candlelight late at night with a handy bottle of blood red wine. Now I feel the urge for some serious neck biting.