Despite being somewhat disentranced through much of Only Lovers Left Alive, I did enjoy the film.
Jarmusch made darkness and despair look attractive, proof of his early trainiing at Columbia, NYU and Cinematheque Francasie. The sets were gorgeous even in their centuries old accumulation of books and instruments. Romance exists even in dimly lit disorganization which is excellent news for my bulging clothes closet.
The film also made me glad for my day job as vampires lack thereof might be partially why they are so bored and lethargic. The burden of being immortal is what to do with all that time. How much sight seeing can one do for eternity?
In fact, they were so bored (here’s where you shout: HOW BORED WERE THEY?), that stars Tidla Swinton (Eve) and Tom Hiddleston (Adam) took a sightseeing tour of Detroit! Yet even ruined cities can look majestic by night.
The plot was weak to say the least which leads me to believe there is a new film genre in its nascence. Similar to Inside Llewyn Davis, not much happens in Only Lovers Left Alive. But as I told my English students recently when they complained about their apathy at the lack of action in the film Wadjda (mind you, they’re 12, Wadjda was far from boring) that life is a journey with more moments of slack than static. Inside Llewyn Davis and Only Lovers Left Alive highlight life’s daily grind. In addition, both films dealt with the characters’ interior minds tough to depict visually, a wrestling within about finding new challenges to embrace based on years of previous rejections and disappointments.
And given Jarmusch’s quips within the film about our dependency on technology (though hypocritically sporting Eve’s Apple I-phone in several scenes), the dysfunction of self-promotion and fame, our ruination and disregard for the environment; perhaps Adam’s depression comes more from overload, where the years (century years) are merely a metaphor for our informational and consumerism excess.
Last, perhaps the vampire motif has come full circle. We are now back to kinder gentler Counts, like Chocula and Sesame Street’s von Count, empathic guides for people’s chocolate satisfaction and math skills. According to Only Lovers Left Alive, the new vampire rule is only bite and amorous souls whose cells will live on generating positive vibrations throughout space and time. Count Chocula