Quick InfoCountry: Japan
What I Liked::original perspective of a human transforming into a vampire
What I Disliked::a more traditional screenplay would have benefited the striking imagery
The Avant-garde Adventures of a Vampire!
Imagine walking into a Chelsea art gallery in New York City. Inside is one giant L-shaped room. In the main part of the room, the walls are painted white with nothing hanging on them. Make a turn into the L-part of the room and there projected onto the wall is one dark, strange film. The projection shows a Japanese woman (played by Ayumi Kakizawa) having a pretty bad day – she’s staggering around barely able to hold herself up, her vision is blurred, and she’s seeing bizarre imagery. Is she sick or does she have a fever? Actually, she’s gradually transforming into a vampire. Her boyfriend better watch out because she’s quite hungry for blood. She walks around in a daze until she finds some nice dark tunnels to ease her transformation. Who else is in there? Just another old half-naked vampire monk with long nails. This is not a good day, but hey!…maybe she’ll live forever if she keeps drinking blood.
Written and directed by Japanese filmmaker Naoki Yoshimoto and starring the avant-garde butoh dancer Ko Murobushi, Sanguivorous is not a film you’ll expect to see in your local Imax theater. An arty mix of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, Guy Madden films, and Shin’ya Tsukamoto films, Sanguivorous is pretty much a silent film (or video experiment) with little dialogue that is probably best watched in an art gallery, museum, a vampire-themed dance club, or with live orchestration (as has been already done). A mainstream film directed by Yoshimoto in the future would seem unlikely after watching this film – his niche seems like he would prefer to stay in the anti-mainstream filmmaking world, but he is certainly a good filmmaker. Even with a very low budget, Sanguivorous features very creative filmmaking – stylish uses of light and shadows, old school special effects, and great long shots and close-ups. If Yoshimoto ever makes a film outside of the art world, I would be very curious to see one. But for anyone expecting a regular traditional horror film, you are not going to find that with Sanguivorous.
With an overkill amount of silly vampire movies flooding the theaters nowadays, Sanguivorous is a refreshing take on the blood-thirsty character. I wouldn’t have the urge to watch this film anytime soon again due to being quite experimental, but the director certainly captured an element that’s never been seen in a vampire movie before – the feverish point-of-view perspective of how it could feel from transforming from a human to a vampire.
I recommend this film…to be seen in an art gallery with red wine and Brie.
Very special thanks to Tetsuki Ijichi of Tidepoint Pictures for providing us with a viewing copy!