Nadja, dir. Michael Almereyda, USA 1994, 94 min., English, 15
Absent from UK screens since its original release by the ICA in 1996, Michael Almereyda’s stylised vampire film is a one-of-a-kind mix of André Breton, Dracula’s Daughter and 1990s existentialism by way of US independent filmmaking.
Shot in stunning black and white with sequences in Almereyda’s trademark Pixelvision, Nadja follows the titular vampire (Elina Löwensohn) and her servant Renfield (Karl Geary) through her joyless nightlife in New York, until the death of her father, Count Dracula raises new possibilities for her and twin brother, Edgar (Jared Harris). After Nadja falls in love with Lucy (Galaxy Craze), complications arise when her husband Jim (Martin Donovan) brings Lucy’s transformation to the attention of vampire hunter Van Helsing (Peter Fonda).
Combining a luxurious visual style with offbeat performances and deadpan humour, Screen Slate called Nadja, ‘a GenX deconstruction of the vampire myth’. Among the many pleasures Löwensohn’s magnetic presence and Fonda’s post-hippie Van Helsing are highlights. There’s much to appreciate elsewhere with the film’s frequent segues into philosophical discourse, surreal imagery, and dreamlike soundscapes by composer Simon Fisher Turner.
Fri, 01 Oct 2021
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