One of Empire's Cannes picks, Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive is a fatalistic vampire flick that could be in the Palme d'Or shake-up. Judging by these gothic scripted pics he's just released, if there was a Palme for producing cool promotion for a movie, he'd be in the running for that too.
Indiewire has come by a new selection of stills from the film, showing leads Tilda Swinton and Jarmusch newbie Tom Hiddleston as the wannest things this side of The Cure's make-up drawer. Click on the pics for a closer look.
Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?
Appearing alongside Hiddleston and Swinton are Mia Wasikowska and Anton Yelchin in a storyline that Jarmusch sums up thusly:
Only Lovers Left Alive is an unconventional love story between a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. (My script was partially inspired by the last book published by Mark Twain: The Diaries of Adam and Eve - though no direct reference to the book is made other than the character’s names.) These two lovers are archetypal outsiders, classic bohemians, extremely intelligent and sophisticated - yet still in full possession of their animal instincts. They have traveled the world and experienced many remarkable things, always inhabiting the shadowed margins of society. And, like their own love story, their particular perspective on human history spans centuries - because they happen to be vampires.
But this is not your usual vampire story. Set in the very distinct cities of Detroit and Tangier, and taking place almost entirely at night, Adam and Eve must have human blood to survive. But they now live in the world of the 21st century where biting the neck of a stranger would be reckless and regressive - for survival, they must be certain the blood that sustains them is pure and free of disease or contamination. And, almost like shadows, they have learned long ago to deftly avoid the attention of any authorities. For our film, the vampire is a resonant metaphor - a way to frame the deeper intentions of the story. This is a love story, but also the story of two exceptional outsiders who, given their unusual circumstances, have a vast overview of human and natural history, including stunning achievements and tragic and brutal failures. Adam and Eve are themselves metaphors for the present state of human life - they are fragile and endangered, susceptible to natural forces, and to the shortsighted behavior of those in power.
The Cannes faithful have a serious soft spot for the American auteur and will be eagerly anticipating this one. As in Neil Jordan's latest, Byzantium, strict vampire mythos looks like taking a back seat to a more existential treatment of lost souls adrift. No word on a UK release yet but check back for Empire's thoughts from Cannes soon.