Thursday, May 29, 2014

Requiem for a Life Eternal


In an over saturated genre, Byzantium is a breath of fresh air. It seems the vampire film has become it's own genre with numerous sub-genres such as: action vampire , teen vampire, romance vampire, horror vampire, and the list goes on. Byzantium touches the "teen" and "horror" genres quite well while never fully committing to either. Over all I'd describe the film as a drama with horror elements.


Eleanor Webb is a 16 yr old girl cursed with immortality and Clara, her mother that's more of a burden than a guardian. The film follows the two as they run from the secret vampire authority, which is strictly patriarchal and misogynistic. The narrative flows between the past and the present fluidly never quite revealing the whole picture until the final act.


Vampire films often deal with the curse of immortality and the struggle of the eternal. Would you want to live forever if you were alone and could never be with another? What would it be like to repeat the same mistakes over and over again? This is the reality that both Clara and Eleanor struggle with, each in very different ways. Clara refuses to acknowledge the dire realities of their situation and pretends the past doesn't exist. Eleanor never forgets the past, refuses to lie, and longs for a true companion. The two often clash with their different viewpoints and struggle to maintain the connection to each other. 


Underneath the vampire theme is two different stories that are both told beautifully. Clara's story is of a uneducated woman that stuffers at the hands of men. A single parent struggling to make ends meet and having to deal with the realities of a harsh and unforgiving world. Eleanor's story is that of the teen who longs to live a better life yet the desire to move on fills her with guilt and sadness. The film isn't overtly brutal with these stories and over all is a great vampire film that is worth checking out. 


Byzantium(2012)

Directed by: 
Neil Jordan

Top Billied Cast:
Saoirse Ronan
Gemma Arterton
Sam Riley
Caleb Landry Jones



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A twisted, devastatingly beautiful film.

I've seen some weird, esoteric art films in my life, but Beyond the Black Rainbow is on a whole different level. This film is a twisted journey through madness as perceived by madmen. Those of you brave enough to watch it will be rewarded by stunning visuals, mind-bending storytelling, and an amazing score.

From the beginning, I was reminded of the greats: Kubrick, Stone, and Argento. The colors and set design invoke the sci-fi of the late 70’s and early 80’s. The optical narratives are bold and take leaps most "modern" directors would never fathom to attempt. On the surface, it is a story of a trapped girl and her struggle to escape her life. Buried beneath this is a deep, thought-provoking film tackling issues ranging from death to self-hatred to patricide. Also, I think the director was trying to make a statement on our culture's need to self-improve beyond reason, a desire to make yourself perfect to extreme levels, and how that corrupts the powerful and victimizes the weak. 

From the beginning to the end, Beyond the Black Rainbow is both visually and idealistically satisfying. It is a piece of cinematic art that I haven't experienced in many years. While not suitable for everyone, if you are a fan of cinema (especially science fiction), then you will enjoy this film.


Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)
Director:
Panos Cosmatos

Top Billed Cast:
Eva Bourne
Michael Rogers
Scott Hylands
Rondel Reynoldson