Sunday, 3 November 2013


Vampyr – Carl Theo. Dreyer – Filmed in 1932, Dreyer’s haunting film is suffused with its own idiosyncratic and hard to place atmosphere. During the first few shots, in which the protagonist approaches an inn for a place to stay, there is the unmistakable sense of apprehension and melancholy. Through the film’s own decayed palette of colours (an oneiric and hazy black and white) and time-worn score, the Gothic scaffolding of the narrative dissolves into something far less stable, almost uncanny. Into the seductive fog! We see a boatman with a scythe, an angel weathervane, a blind old man warbling nonsensical noises, shadows that move in irrational reverse, ballroom dancers resigned to live out their steps as shadows, unsettling ornamental skulls, a prophetic painting of a skeleton and a coffin’s eye view of bony branches and empty sky. It is a murky dimension that sleepwalks through the motions of narrative, its power not in the conceit of the vampire or what actually happens, but in the marinating gloom of a drifting mood. The protagonist also often looks like a young André Breton…which feels appropriate. 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment