Thursday, 6 March 2014

Films on a Friday: Five Vampire Films... may or may not have watched (but probably should) from around the world.

Vampires. They are probably the most attractive supernatural creatures used in literature and cinema. Or at least the most popular ones, from classics like Dracula and Nosferatu to new handsome devils. While big budgeted Hollywood franchises attract younger audiences to cinemas I, myself, have a different approach on this topic. I cannot comment on books or films that I haven't read or watched , but I prefer smaller stories or maybe, let's say personal struggles of immortal creatures. There is some sort of romance about their alienation, living on other people or not dying which I find sad, mostly. And I love sad stories. 

1. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

I can safely say that this film is probably haunting me since I've watched it a couple of weeks ago. Apart from the perfect cast (Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and more), it has a certain charm, an atmosphere that I find very interesting. The story is about a vampire couple living in different parts of the world. Eve, in Tangier, a living breathing city though it is ruins. Adam, in Detroit, once a promising city now decaying slowly. The cities are reflecting the personalities of both characters which makes it more interesting to watch. Eve is a survivor, while Adam, himself is feeling like he's rotting away. So this brings the dynamic and other factors like the music, the literary references makes it even more enjoyable to watch. 

2. Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In, 2008) - Sweden

Although there is a newer, Hollywood remake of this film, I still prefer the original Swede version. I think this film reflects the atmosphere of the place which makes it calm but effective and this is why the remake failed to set the mood. The film is about the little, innocent love story between two children, Oskar and Eli. But the truth is, Eli is a vampire and learning this secret affects Oskar and the relationship of the two neighbours. What I really like about this one is again, the atmosphere and the courage of taking the bloodthirsty monster into a safe place, into a child's body. I know this is a book adaptation and I plan to read it soon.

3. Bakjwi (Thirst, 2009) - South Korea

What did Chan-Wook Park do before moving up to Hollywood and after Oldboy's fame? A vampire film, that's what. So it's been a while since I've last watched this film but what stuck with me was a perfect cinematography (as always) and the disturbing feeling (again, as always). The struggles of a priest, turning into a vampire with a thirst for blood and flesh and the moral side of the story is seasoned with a little bit sexual content. Perfect friday night film for me.

4. Byzantium (2012)

So, this recent vampire film set in a coastal town is about two young women trying to run away from the past. What makes it a bit different than other vampire films is that it's completely centers around two women and their relationships although there are lots of male characters affecting the story. For me the relationship between Eleanor, who is sick of secrets and wants to stop running away and Clara, who is trying to make money by the only way she knows, using her body was the fun part to watch. This relationship reminded me a different vampire story, one of my all time favorites, Interview with the Vampire and the relationship between Lestat and Louis. So the film may not be as impressive as the others on the list, but it's still worth a watch either for the secrets or for the female characters.  

5. Nochnoy Dozor (Night Watch, 2004) - Russia

This last one is a bit different from the others, as it is not exactly a vampire film and it centers around bigger events not personal tragedies. In short, this is about the battle between the forces of good and evil. 'Others' are people with supernatural powers who choose either light and become Night Watch or dark and become Day Watch. The truce between dark and light is treatened with a vampire attack to a child while the main character, Anton is running around trying to do his duty. As I said, it is not exactly a vampire film but there's quite a lot of people feeding on blood and some details like 'gloom', somewhere only 'others' can see or characters like Zavulon (I'm attracted to clever villains) makes it very enjoyable to watch. Oh, and it continues (Dnevnoy dozor, 2006).


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