Parables II

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The Vampire

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 16, 2015

I don’t know about the claims of Nazi parallels, here in Jean Painlevé’s nature/species film. It certainly stands up as a nature/species film, and doesn’t need the historical parallel. This is very nicely structured. A Buñuelian prologue (cf. L’Age D’Or, 1930) about armoured or aggressive creatures giving rise to folklores gives way to the bat itself. A Murnau clip (1922)! And is that Duke Ellington we hear? Painlevé’s musical choices are provocatively and effectively surreal. Buñuel again.

What a hideous creature! The calm scientific portraiture—commentary illuminating imagery, imagery illustrating commentary—helps; they don’t gild the lily, and so leave the lily more frightening. The reason of course, the source and centre of that is that unblinking guinea pig sequence. The bat bites a hole in his face, then sucks his blood out! Gee. Maybe it is about the Nazis.