“Remarkable... a quiet, dark, and intense drama” — Shelagh Rowan-Legg, DORK SHELF
“Iwai succeeds at infusing his distinctive dark whimsy throughout... fans will surely find much to love in the artistry, the intricacy, the magic” — Ryland Aldrich, TWITCHFILM
Director: Shunji Iwai
Screenplay: Shunji Iwai
Cast: Kevin Zeggers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rachael Leigh Cook, Kristin Kreuk, Aoi Yu
Producers: Shunji Iwai, Tim Kwok
Print Source: Rockwell Eyes
2011 | 12 min
Simon (Kevin Zeggers) is a teacher. He’s also a very lonely man. Like many lonely people, he spends a good deal of time on internet chatrooms and forums, cruising posts in search of a person he can share experiences with. Well, one experience, anyway. You see, the forums that Simon frequents are suicide groups, and the special someone he’s looking to connect with, is anyone who would want to die with him. Simon, in fact, has no interest in dying himself, but he’s saddled with an all-consuming obsession for blood-drinking, and he’s reached the point where he will get physically ill if he goes too long between consumption binges. Not wanting to hurt anyone, he has found the best alternative: suicide pacts with strangers. Needless to say, Simon makes sure that they always go first. The pieces just fall into place for him, as he wanders in and out of broken lives, sharing the final minutes of the fragile, drinking their blood as bonds are formed, then fade away.
Shunji Iwai, director of the phenomenal SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY (winner of an Audience Award when it had its North American premiere at Fantasia, back in the day) and ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU, has returned. VAMPIRE finds Japan’s celebrated iconoclast exploring a melancholic universe of lost connections and compulsion, yet he manages to emerge with a poetic and almost whimsical film, its saddest edges full of invention, humour and charm. This is Iwai’s first foray into English language storytelling, both as writer and director, but one would never know it. His uniquely sensitive filmmaking talents transcend all language, and his direction is as assured as can be, backed by an extraordinary array of performances (Zeggers, Amanda Plummer, Adelaide Clemens and Rachael Leigh Cook are particularly fantastic) and staged with a visual sensibility that reaches Wong Kar-Wai/Chris Doyle levels of daring and inspiration. At moments, VAMPIRE is reminiscent of ZED AND TWO NAUGHTS-era Peter Greenaway, with elements of Romero’s MARTIN, Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION and Fessenden’s HABIT, yet it’s an enormously distinctive work, infused with a singularity of vision and a psychology very much its own. A dark and powerful film that is so much more than the sum of its parts, VAMPIRE will surprise you to no end as it touches the shadow lands of your soul.