At the Movies: Sweet Vampire Love

The simplest goals of Marxist literary criticism can include an assessment of the political “tendency” of a literary work, determining whether its social content or its literary form are “progressive”.  It also includes analyzing the class constructs demonstrated in the literature.  (From Wikipedia: “Marxist Literary Criticism “)

If you’re a vampire, it helps to be rich.  At least nowadays in the 21st century.  That is, a long, long time ago I had college level courses in theories of criticism and, while a Marxist approach may seem odd for a romantic reunion between two vampires, if you think about it vampirism itself represents a form of class struggle.  But ONLY onlyloversLOVERS LEFT ALIVE is more than just that, it is first and foremost a love story — and, as we shall see, not just between two people, but love and appreciation of life itself.

As for being rich, one has to get blood from underground sources — not only do “traditional methods” attract dangerous attention, so much blood on the hoof, as it were, is polluted these days — and that takes money.  As for class struggle, well, the vampires in this film refer to ordinary folk as “zombies” because, with the rare exception of artists and scientists and very few others, most humans are “dead” to the wonders and beauty that’s all around them.  Worse, in their blind struggle to get by on their own human terms, they’re taking the Earth down the toilet with them.

But we don’t learn much about economics — simply accept that “Adam” and “Eve” (the movie is partly inspired by Mark Twain’s last book, THE DIARIES OF ADAM AND EVE) and Christopher Marlow (the movie abounds with literary references) et al. have the means they require.  Though wonderfully, simply, the movie ends with the lovers in Tangier bereft of everything but themselves (and, well, maybe a wad of cash, but not that much) asking, momentarily, “what do we do now?”  Then, being realistic as well as romantics, realizing what they must.

“Excusez-moi?”

I’m being purposely obscure in all this because this is a movie one should see for oneself.  It’s a wonder of visuals and sound, including Yasmine in the Moroccan nightclub at the end reminding us once more of the love of music, just as the non-Tangier parts of the movie take place in Detroit, “Motown,” even now still a center of music as well as a city on the decline.  Both beauty and squalor (in which terms, then compare and contrast Eve and her little sister Ava).  In some ways I’m reminded of ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, though that may just be my own eccentricity, but like that movie ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is sweet and beautiful yet, at the same time, ruthless and sad.

Or such are my thoughts of the moment, having just come back from an IU Cinema screening of the film.

 

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  1. I shall HAVE to see this one! Even if it is subtitled! Thanks for the head’s up about it, Jim!

  2. Looked it up on Netflix and it’s a Jim Jaresh (sp) directed film so you know it’s worth watching (probably, anyway) and it is not foreign — and it IS available sometime in August this year. So it’s in my Saved queue! Can’t wait!

  3. I think it’s British/American. Anyhow, the dialogue is mostly in English, while the parts that are not (mainly in the Tangier sequences, I assume in Arabic, but incidental and not necessary to understand) are not subtitled. That includes one line in French — the final line in the film — which I quoted above (but is enough like English that subtitles shouldn’t be needed there either).




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