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The Transfiguration

featuring

Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine, Aaron Clifton Moten,

Combining gritty urban realism with vampire-movie name-checks galore, The Transfiguration (selected for Cannes’s Un Certain Regard) tells the story of a teenage loner with a problem—he has a thirst for blood—and the slightly older girl who befriends him. With a collection of vampire memorabilia and journals where he tracks plans for his next victims, he is both obsessive and methodical. A chance encounter with a white girl named Sophie, who has moved into his building, leads to an awkward friendship of sorts. Milo unveils some of his secrets to her, including his favorite vampire films (he’s partial to Romero’s Martin and Let the Right One In), as she reveals her own personal problems; together they try to help each other with their respective demons. Milo’s cinematic references reveal some of O’Shea’s predilections as well, as the film is more concerned with atmosphere and character development than graphic violence. To that end, The Transfiguration features beautifully modulated performances by Eric Ruffin as the pensive and deliberate Milo and Chloe Levine as the sensitive and damaged Sophie. As Milo lays a plan to remove the elements that threaten them both, The Transfiguration offers a pathway towards hope that leads its characters past and through all of the bloodletting.

Rod Armstrong