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A reclusive, Bowie-like rock star (Tom Hiddleston) — who also happens to be a centuries-old vampire — has his moody, nocturnal reverie disturbed by clamouring fans, a visit from his bloodsucking belle (Tilda Swinton) and the jibes of her irascible sister (Mia Wasikowska), in the eagerly anticipated new film from American indie icon Jim Jarmusch.
In what marks a distinctive change of
pace, American indie icon Jim Jarmusch
turns to the vampire genre to fashion this
gorgeously conceived and idiosyncratic
film that nevertheless bears all the trademarks
of his work to date: hip, stylized,
erudite and acerbic in just the right ways.
Starring the incomparable Tilda Swinton,
the chameleonic Mia Wasikowska (also
at the Festival in Tracks and The Double),
and Tom Hiddleston in a major departure,
Only Lovers Left Alive occupies a claustrophobic,
languid nocturnal world befitting
vampires who live a counter-normal existence.
Centuries old, they have seen it all,
and simply want to be left alone to get on
with their (eternal) lives.
Adam (Hiddleston) is a reclusive, Bowielike
rock star, whose only wish is to avoid his
adoring fans and write and play his music,
which these days tends towards the funereal.
Eve (Swinton) is his lady belle, who leaves
her closest friend, Christopher Marlowe
(John Hurt), to travel halfway around the
world to be with her lover and live in a ramshackle
mansion-cum-recording studio on
the outskirts of Detroit. Their reverie is
troubled, not just by the fans who close in on
and keep vigil outside Adam's hideaway, but
also by Eve's irascible sister (Wasikowska).
Music, not surprisingly, centres the film,
but Jarmusch's net is cast wider here. Having
lived so long, Adam and Eve can count
amongst their acquaintances the crème de
la crème of artists and scientists — Byron,
Shelley, Kepler, Darwin, Copernicus — none
of whom make an appearance, but all of
whom are invoked in tones of nostalgia for
a glorious past that our vampires can never
repeat. Hypnotic, dreamlike, mesmerizing…
Jarmusch is a master of moody reverie.
- Jim Jarmusch
- Jim Jarmusch was born in Akron,
Ohio. He has directed the features
Permanent Vacation (80); Stranger
Than Paradise (84), which won the
Camera d'Or at Cannes; Down by
Law (86), Mystery Train (89), Ghost
Dog: The Way of the Samurai (99),
and Coffee and Cigarettes (03), all
of which screened at the Festival;
and Broken Flowers (05), which won
the Grand Prix at Cannes. His latest
feature is Only Lovers Left Alive (13).