Nadja (1994)

nadja

Director: Michael Almereyda
Writer: Michael Almereyda
Starring: Elina Lowensohn, Peter Fonda, Nic Ratner, David Lynch. USA. 1h 33m.

Taking on all the style and charm of a music video from the primary band in the soundtrack Portishead this chillaxed surreal vampire film starts off in curious way but evolves into something very familiar. This delicate black and white melodic drama follows the aftermaths of the death of an aged vampire, and the coming of age and awakening of his two children, Nadja (Elina Lowensohn) and her brother Edgar (Jarred Harris) while being hunted by professor Van Helsing and his hapless assistant.

Drawing on the classic vampire tale, all of the same elements of love and the chase of an immortalized devil can be found in this dreamy film.

Ultra Hip Post Modern Vampire Tale

Nadja glides around NYC in the night, chancing upon strangers in bars as she’s secretly being hunted by the plucky Van Helsing who travels via his trusty pushbike and has steampunk techniques of tracking down vampires, in a jerky, stoned mad scientist kinda way and brings a bit of life to the film, as does a sterling performance from David Lynch who appears as a sleepy not-all-quite-there morgue attendant as well as being the executive producer to the movie.

nadjaSo together there are a bunch of awkward misfits chasing a classy group of haute vampires, and it really does work visually, but there are some extremely long narrative scenes where even the cast look like they are drifting off during the performance. The atmosphere remains mysterious and the pace is slow but the film remains interesting as the love engtanglement tightens and the explosion of Nadja’s self exploration forms into a new life plan.

Michael Almereyda displays a love of cigarettes, lesbian vampires, retro horror and blends everything with a modern gothic expression of loneliness and rejection.

Unseen. Unforgiving, Undead

Nadja is a treat for all of the senses both the sight and sounds of night time NYC as well as roaming around old ruined sites, something that we’ve grown used to in vampire history. there’s a strong feeling of the early 90’s here, with iconic tunes from Portishead and Spacehog. There are unique scenes that use a Fisher Price camera to pixelate the screen when the vampires are in a ethereal realm, similar to Frodo in Lord of the Rings.But as a vampire film I feel that Nadja fails, I do appreciate that it’s essential about Nadja the person and her development and the vampirism is seen as a necessary evil, an affliction almost, and it come across in the movie as a haunting, a european mysticism more than a bloody creature feature and in that sense the film is genius.

I feel that if it had taken a pinch of sensuality and a touch of erotica maybe Nadja would have a lot more power visually.

It was an unsuspected surprise and while it’s surreal it’s also very real, the characters are so bizarre but relatable; that is, if you can relate to a ancient vampire looking for a new lease of life?

Rating 6/10

 

RA Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2015)
L – Selected Vampire Flicks, Selected Modernish Black and White Films
A – Why Black and White?
5SDavid Lynch
Vs – Nadja Vs A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night Vs Addiction

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