Jim Jarmusch’s vampires teach us something about art and love.

tilda swinton books

The vampire genre has been overdone in recent years, but Jim Jarmusch’s take on the vampire will change your perception of the category all together. Only Lovers Left Alive, the new film by legendary American indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, is not your ordinary vampire movie. It is a sweeping critique of modern human society, pegging reclusive vampires as the real culturally progressive avant-garde. The film is not a horror story but rather a vibrant celebration of art, culture and love.

Only lovers left alive hug

The movie opens with the drop of a needle on an old record playing a slowed down version of Wanda Jackson, the image of stars in the sky begin to spin on the screen, pulling us into a buzzing, drug-iddled mood that continues throughout the movie. With decadent cinematography by Yorick Le Saux, the movie moves like a late night prowl through the dark underground world of the misanthropic. The two vampire lovers, Adam and Eve (played by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton) are long-living lovers, with a love story spanning centuries (their third marriage was in 1868) described by Swinton as a couple that loves talking to each other. They are both devoted to culture, aggregating the very best of art and ideas as they move along through history, in a way humans with such short lifetimes never could.

(Images sourced via masterhands)