Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Nothing Human Lasts Forever

Watched the film The Hunger (1983) on DVD last night. Another one that I'd never seen. This is the one with David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve as vampires, with Susan Sarandon as the human who stumbles into their world. I'd seen all the TV series of the same name, and the film does share a certain similarity in the editing and surreal nature of some of the filming. The film was directed by Tony Scott who was also behind the TV series, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. But the film ... what an interesting idea and way to discuss vampires. Deneuve was suitably icy and emotionless as Miriam the vampire, which is a little strange as it was all about her not wanting to be alone. Bowie played her latest companion, John, and was just brilliant. I loved him as the young man, and then when he aged to old man in the space of a day, he had the stance and performance down pat all the way through. I appreciated the conceit of him aging 50 years while waiting to be seen in a clinic ... something we have all felt! Kudos to Dick Smith for the brilliant old man make up as well - really superb - and I also loved the really really old make up effects too at the end of the film. The crumbling corpses were really creepy and well done, especially when combined with some great lighting and visuals on screen around them. It's a very simple film on one level, but leaves a lot to think about. Deneuve's companions never die, just suddenly get ancient in the space of a few days - and when they do she shuts their bodies in boxes in her attic. And as they also cannot sleep, this is an eternity of living hell. Which is really not a very nice thing to do to those you profess to love. But then when she herself dies, they too die, and she ages and crumbles to dust herself. So was she living off their everlasting life force in some way? The film suggests so, closing with Sarandon now taking on the mantle of female vampire, ever young, ever perfect and ever in search of companion after companion to share her eternity with. I found it a little languid in places, slow paced, and yet the film has a beguiling elegance which perhaps demands that it is told in a measured way. It doesn't lend itself to fast-paced action sequences at all. Overall a good slice of vampire cinema, taking a different tack - there are no fangs in sight here - and with much to consider past the closing titles.

1 comment:

The Grumpy Cleric said...

I agree, I like the movie a lot as well. Unfortunately, most men are overly fixated by 1 scene in particular ... you know the one that I'm meaning(!); the shame is, as your review pointed out, despite it being very pretentious it is also very touching, achingly beautiful and extremely moving.