2 December 2011
Summary Applications Paper: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
I have enjoyed many vampire movies over the years, long before they became the popular pop-culture genre they have become due to the success of The Twilight Saga films. One movie I have enjoyed viewing many times since its debut in 1994 is Interview with the Vampire. This film is an adaptation of the book Interview with the Vampire written by Anne Rice in 1973 and published in 1976. The movie was directed by Neil Jordan who also co-wrote the script with Anne Rice.
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles is the story of Louis (Brad Pitt), portraying a depressed man, as he tells of his life as a vampire to a radio reporter (Christian Slater) in modern time San Francisco. It is the story of the coming of age, vampire style. Louis starts out by telling how he was turned into a vampire by Lestat (Tom Cruise) and how Lestat tried to teach him how to be a vampire and the art of feeding. Louis, however, could never get used to killing humans and thus learned to sustain himself on a diet of animals. Louis becomes very bitter and enraged toward Lestat for making him a vampire. Lestat then tries to reduce the bitterness and anger of Louis by giving him a family. He does this by turning a young girl, Claudia (Kirsten Dunst), and therefore giving Louis the child he had once lost. Claudia eventually also turns bitter and angry toward Lestat as she comes to mature, yet she still looks and is treated as a child. Lois and Claudia then try to destroy Lestat and escape on a ship to Europe to find other vampires. After they arrive in Europe they come across the Theatre des Vampires in Paris where they meet Armand (Antonio Banderas) and his troupe of theatrical vampires. These other vampires eventually find out what Claudia and Louis have done to Lestat and are bound by oath to avenge Lestat’s undoing.
The theme of Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles is the loss of innocence, morality, and mortality. Louis comes to learn from his years as a vampire that self-preservation will always trump morality. In the end he admits that he is undead, likes human blood, and ends up letting go of his morality and guilt as portrayed in this quote from the movie Interview with the Vampire-The Vampire Chronicles: “That morning, I was not yet a vampire, and I saw my last sunrise. I remember it completely, and yet I can’t recall any sunrise before it. I watched its whole magnificence for the last time as if it were the first. And then I said farewell to sunlight, and set out to become what I became” (Interview with The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles). Photography
Throughout this film one feels that they are watching the true events of Louis’ 200 year undead existence in many well-known cities around the world. This makes the film seem even more real in that the audience can relate the landmarks of those cities, such as the catacombs of the theatre company, to what is happening in the film and to their current time and locations. The realism is superb in this aspect. It makes us feel the film is deep, interesting, and fun. The film is also shot from the point of view of the audience even though the story is being told by Louis. A lot of the camera shots seem to be long shots and stay in the footlights of the screen as if the viewer were in the audience of a play (Rice). Even the characters seem to enter from the left or right as they would on a stage and then meet in the center for medium shots and their dialogue (Rice). Yet, in order to make the victimization scenes show the viciousness and lack of conscience of the attacker the camera focuses in on the eyes of the vampire (Rice). This made the scenes seem more powerful and deserving of staid treatment. In these scenes we start to see how the photography of the film supports the theme of innocence lost and what immortality is all about...