Wednesday, August 6, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: Only Lovers Left Alive

2013, Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, Broken Flowers) -- download

Again, I am astounded to see that a director has only done a handful of films since his Hollywood lauded Ghost Dog. He was one of the directors, with Night on Earth, that dragged me out of my narrow focus on only Hollywood movies or black & white classics. Yes, he is a weirdly accessible indie dear to the film world, but he still represented something different out there. And with the last film of his we saw in the theatre being 2005's Broken Flowers with Bill Murray, I expected there to have been a spate of other films, as I slipped out of my "interesting movies" phase. Nope, just The Limits of Control. And then this one.

That Jarmusch is doing a vampire flick is ... interesting. But, whoah, does he really dig into a core element of being a vampire. This is not an origin flick or a romance flick (though it is painfully romantic) or a horror or any of the other aspects of vampire culture  that have been explored in the last decade's resurgence of the genre. This is about immortality.  This is about being around for a long time, about seeing the world as us in our quick races towards death cannot behold. This is about appreciating the time you do have.

Adam (Tom Hiddlestone) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) are old, really old. Adam lives in dilapidated Detroit with his old guitars, reel to reel tape machines and Tesla car -- made from Tesla the scientist technology, not Tesla the electric car company. Eve lives in Tangiers with her books. She is old enough to know an object from its touch, to guess its age and its history from the way it feels. Adam is depressed, with how the world is going, with how little impact he and his kind can have on us, the zombies. In slow, deliberate dialogue Eve and Adam discuss his situation (she takes a night flight to the US) and highlight exactly how exquisite it must be to live for hundreds of years, to take the time to really enjoy all that is around you, even if it is only ever in the dark. There is so much music, so many books, so much culture. If you have the time, you can absorb so much. But there is that annoying drinking blood thing, which requires craftiness if you don't want to kill people or contract all the blood born diseases we collect these days.