The hypnotic shot that begins the movie: an overhead on a spinning vinyl record, initiating us on the roller coaster of music that will ensue. In fact, what gives the movie its force is the soundtrack, which culminates in a stunning performance in a Tangier bar by the Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan.
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The vampires, on a hunt for blood, stop to peep at this beautiful singer as she dances and sings, waving her highly-toned arms and wearing a sparkling spangled belt, a surprise image in the misty Moroccan night. These sublime moments of art celebration is all the film seems to be about, to be honest, despite the press kit that tells us that this film is about marginality in our decadent 2lst century, with the vampires symbolizing the boheme. But sometimes that is all one wants in a film: musical and visual pleasure.
In person, Jim Jarmusch shows--aside from his handsome stature and his famous white hair--the same impressive breadth of knowledge. Asked during the press conference whether he likes YouTube, he responded, in a flash:. I love the idea that you can watch a performance from the s of Merle Haggard, then a lecture on mycology and mushroom identification by John Cage, then a clip of the Steve Allen tv show with young Frank Zappa playing a bicycle as a musical instrument and then watch how a flying squirrel moves through space. Put that encyclopedic prowess to music--with a couple of vampires--and you get the experience of Only Lovers Left Alive.
Throw in some bloody stakings and another head getting chopped off show that Hammer was definitely willing to up their gore ante as other genre films had at the time. Pitt is not the only one to show great acting prowess in this one. The rest of the female cast also give flawless performances, and the men hold their own as well. While, many movies have been made since, and are continuing to be made with no sign of ever stopping, this remains one of the finest. Even if the later movies that came are infinitely more exploitative and graphic, they lack the greatness of this classic.
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