Our Undying Love for Only Lovers Left Alive
October 26, 2021
You know that feeling when you read or watch something that’s so phenomenal and beautiful that it kicks you on a gut level so profoundly that you almost get angry about it?
Or maybe you’re a normal person and you’re just grateful that it exists in the world at all.
In our defense, that’s how we usually feel when we encounter art that we love. We reread it until the binding falls apart or hang it on our wall until sunlight irrevocably fades one half lighter than the other. Back in the day, we’d rewatch the VHS tape until we broke it. And we feel nothing but joy and thankfulness – well, maybe occasional irritation that we have to buy a replacement!
But sometimes, art is almost too good.
Like it’s reflecting or refracting a piece of your soul back at you, and you can’t decide if you’re mad that you’re being seen so clearly or mad that you didn’t make it first!
The film Only Lovers Left Alive is like that for us.
Don’t even bother asking us how many times we’ve seen it. It’s embarrassing. Mostly because we don’t know the number – it’s too high.
On a plot level, it’s fairly simple. Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) are vampires, and they’ve been together for centuries. The film explores how they survive depression, massive social and technological change, and Eve’s terrible little sister (Mia Wasikowska) through their bond, sense of purpose, and art.
Everything about the film is gorgeously haunting, from Adam’s music to Eve’s flawless sense of aesthetic pleasure. (Her books. Her clothes.)
Also: fairylore, Kit Marlow, Byron, and Shakespeare.
Feeling a little angry yet?
We’re deep in the launch for our new course, HAUNTED ART, and one of the things we’re most excited about is our new seminar option, where we’ll be doing a deeper dive into some of our favorite longer works. We’re dedicating an entire session to this film and how art and folklore feed each other to create meaning in an ever-changing world. It’s going to be SO COOL – we’ve already written a whole conference presentation about this movie, but getting a chance to talk about it with a class is like a dream come true.
If you’re interested, get your blood popsicles and your bad vampire puns ready, and click here to join us!
I agree wholeheartedly with this whole post. I love this film not only for the beautiful story and performances, but also because Jim Jarmusch has a palpable love for my hometown, Detroit. This movie was filmed here before the revitalization of downtown really started, and I remember being so happy that another person had a love for this gorgeously ragged city and the wondrously creative people who live here. Also, I wish I had known Tom Hiddleston was here…
Here is a link to a more in-depth dive into the movie’s locations. FYI–Adam’s house is now available to stay in on AirBnB. You’re welcome. 😉
Ugh, here is the link I meant to send: