Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary
Filmmaker in person
Zhang Wei-Qiang, Tara Birtwhistle, David Moroni, Cindy Marie Small,
PRECEDED BY: LIGHT IS CALLING (Bill Morrison, US, 2004). “Bodies and movements dissolve in swirling waves of golden light, the film’s decay radiating as a glorious self-immolation.”—Maximilian Le Cain, Senses of Cinema (8 mins, Color, 35mm, From Icarus Films)
“Immigrants!! Others! From the East!” Characteristically hysterical intertitles herald Maddin’s envisioning of Bram Stoker’s tale, performed by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. This Dracula is both deliriously silly and earnestly beautiful, highly idiosyncratic yet, with its squeamish sexuality and unsubtle overtones of xenophobia, oddly faithful to the original book. The dance sequences are often tongue-in-cheek (pirouetting maids garlanded in garlic), yet they can be surprisingly effective at conveying narrative and character—the extravagantly stylized gestures of silent melodrama seem to come naturally to the dancers. Mostly black-and- white and silent, with a swelling Mahler score, the film is punctuated with strategic flashes of color and sound effects.