7:00 PM, 25th October, 2014
Eve (Swinton) is living a serene but resolutely positive bohemian life in the haunting city of Tangier. Adam (Hiddleston) is a tad grumpier, contemplating the futility and pointlessness of life in the desolation of Detroit. Despite their separation, they share much in common, including a predilection for night time over day and a taste for all things bloody. It soon emerges that theirs is a relationship that has lasted centuries, and their reunion, filled with discussions of high culture and experiences of underground music, shows an undeniably deep connection.
Jarmusch has been the hip stylist of cinema long before young Wes Anderson. His takes on the western (Dead Man), lone hitman (Ghost Dog) and portmanteau (Night On Earth, Mystery Train) genres are stylised, autobiographical and personal – and his version of a vampire film is his best work yet. Filled with wonderfully laconic performances from the likes of Tilda Swinton and John Hurt (as Christopher Marlowe – yes, THAT C.M.), dark and clever humour (the O negative ice blocks are brilliant) and gorgeously gothic cinematography, this film shows up the likes of Twilight for the vacant conservative tripe that it is.
Haunting, hilarious, brooding, dark, hypnotic and with an almost perfect final shot, Only Lovers Left Alive is a wonderful commentary (satire?) on modern humanity, and will appeal to all who feel removed from the modern world to a large extent. (Can we all become cool vampires like these two?)
9:13 PM, 25th October, 2014
Do you select your films according to their pedigree? A Separation from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has been one of the most successful films in recent years. His next film, The Past, should not be missed for its beautiful writing, sensitive direction and powerful acting.
Ahmad returns from Iran to Paris to give his French wife Marie the divorce she has asked for. Instead of staying in a hotel he stays with Marie and spends time with her daughters from a previous marriage and with Samir, her current partner, and his son. There are tensions arising from blended families, there are conflicts and difficulties. We are drip fed bits of information and we gradually work out the complex relationships. Every new piece of information creates new questions followed by new elements and then more questions. The dramatic power increases gradually as we experience a series of heart-wrenching twists and revelations.
While there is a lot of sadness, guilt and blame to deal with, this is a satisfying film. We are left with much to think about with themes of mortality and the value of relationships past and present. Hypnotic cinematography boosts the performances of its great cast. The Past is a rewarding film that puts life into perspective.