COMPETITION – Jarmusch, face to face with humanity

Jim Jarmusch © AFP

This unique figure in American independent film offers up a reflection on human existence in Only Lovers Left Alive, the love story between two vampires. As is his wont, he liberates himself from traditional narrative codes.


If there is one characteristic that critics agree on with regard to the films of Jim Jarmusch, it is the fact that he strays from the beaten paths of the film industry. From his earliest works, the American director has been a fierce advocate of free movement in cinema, evolving visually and especially financially outside the conventional and traditional circuits established by the Hollywood studios.

Jarmusch likes to beak the codes and escape from the framework that governs popular film, and this aspiration colours his films as much as his characters, who are often quirky. The Ohio native always tries to depict eccentric or marginal characters, sometimes lyrically. The two main protagonists of Only Lovers Left Alive fall into this groove.

Adam and Eve are two enigmatic vampires who have been in love for centuries. They watch the decline of the human race with a melancholy detachment. Almost completely filmed at night, in Detroit and in Tangiers, the film narrates their passionate reunions, but Jarmusch intends to convey another message. He uses the figure of the vampire, an eternal being, to express a disillusioned perspective on humanity.



Photo from the film © RR

Adam and Eve are metaphors for the current state of human life. They are fragile and threatened, so vulnerable in the face of nature and the thoughtless behaviour of those in power,” the director explains. He was inspired by the book written by Mark Twain, The Private Life of Adam and Eve (for which the latest edition dates from 1994) to construct the plot of this feature film, which he calls his “Crypto-vampire love story“.

Adam and Eve are brought to life on the screen by Tom Hiddleston Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris, The Deep Blue Sea) and Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Moonrise Kigdom), whom Jarmusch had already directed in The Limits of Control (2009) and Broken Flowers, which won the Grand Prix in 2005. A big fan of rock music, the director has his film accompanied by an original sound track that is entirely composed by bands from Detroit.


Benoit Pavan


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