Friday, April 15, 2016

Sunglasses at Night, or Thoughts on the Only Lovers Left Alive

Hipster auteur Jim Jarmusch is a laconic, abstract storyteller, more interested in tone than plot with moody classics like Mystery Train (1989), Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Dead Man (1995) and Ghost Dog (1999), and not the first director to come to mind to present a vampire  love story, but that’s exactly what he crafted in 2013 with Only Lovers Left Alive.
Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton star as Adam and Eve, the ultimate super-cool vampire couple with a quasi-open relationship, in the sense that they live in opposite corners of the world but still consider themselves married.  Adam is a Jim Morrison reclusive rockstar collecting vintage guitars in Detroit, surrounded by crazy inventions and recording equipment, living in a bachelor pad/sound studio/mad scientist lab. His house is a decrepit mansion reminiscent of the Fight Club house on Paper Street.  Eva lives in Tangiers, surrounded by beautiful things, books and tapestries.  She has an otherworldly, elven presence as she strolls the night streets of Morocco in her white veils.  Eve dresses in khaki and off white shades of leather in a style I’d call desert goth, while Adam dresses in tried and true rockstar black.
Both of them are almost overwhelmed by their collection of vintage vinyl and classic books, they’ve had lifetimes indulge their hobbies and distract themselves from immortality.  The two of them live ethereal, dreamlike, reclusive lives in the night, Adam lost in his music and Eve lost in her books.
That’s the central existential plight of being a vampire, outside of humanity, unconnected and adrift.  These vampires drink blood out of antique sherry glasses or suck on blood popsicles.  Adam steals from blood banks, enjoying quirky interactions with Jeffrey Wright where they refer to each other as “Dr. Faust”, “Dr. Watson” or “Dr. Strangelove.”
When Adam succumbs to depression and considers suicide with a cocobolo wood bullet, Eve packs favorite antiquarian books (including Don Quixote and Mishima’s Temple of the Golden Palace) and hops on the night flight to see him.  Their delicate spider web world falls apart with the return of Eve’s vampire sister Ava, played with New Age blood-junkie enthusiasm by Mia Wasikowska.
The movie is reminiscent of A GirlWalks Home Alone, at Night, in tone and mood.  It is filmed in color but with all the night scenes it seems like black and white.  It is about eternal romance, and how couples can drift apart while still remaining together, as well as an homage to Detroit’s beautiful decay and old, analog technology; cathode ray TV screens and reel-to-reel tape recorders.

With John Hurt, who will always be Kane from Alien (1979) to me as vampire Christopher Marlowe, and Anton Yelchin, the new Ensign Chekov, as Ian, a human friend of Adam’s.


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.