Only Lovers Left Alive

Starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston
Mia Wasikowska and John Hurt
Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch
UK/Germany 2013
123 mins

The Acton Film Club started in 2009 and we are screening a film that may have gone under your radar from every year since we began - this time 2013.

Since his early movies 'Stranger Than Paradise' and 'Down By Law' in the 1980s Jim Jarmusch has established himself as one of the most fascinating and influential independent film makers working in the west. His quirky, highly contemplative style synthesises American, European and Japanese cinema - often featuring extended takes and a still camera technique with the focus on character development and mood rather than driving narrative.

Jarmusch has made films in a number of genres including comedy, western, thriller, portmanteau drama and documentary. Throughout his career he has maintained an extraordinary degree of independence - retaining the negatives to all of his pictures - a truly rare thing in modern movie making. He is a composer as well as a filmmaker and has frequently collaborated with musicians like Neil Young, Tom Waits, Joe Strummer and Screamin' Jay Hawkins - often using them in dramatic roles in his movies. His band SQURL provides the opening song 'Funnel Of Love' for this film.

In 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton play Adam and Eve, a pair of glamorous, ubercool vampires - centuries old and living respectively in Detroit and Tangiers. They exist in a nocturnal world - reliant on supplies of uncontaminated blood to maintain their ancient lifestyle. Among their friends is Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) - the playwright contemporary of Shakespeare who is sometimes credited with having written some of the his greatest works.

If you don't care for horror movies don't be put off - this is no conventional vampire flick - it is infused with Jarmusch's peculiar sensibilities and eschews gore in favour of exquisite production design and what Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian called a 'sulphurous chemistry' between the two leads.