Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Honourable Mentions: Emotion: densetsu no gogo = itsukamita Dracula

This was a 1966 short film from Japan and the first vampiric connection is that director/writer Nobuhiko Obayashi made the film in homage to Vadim’s Blood and Roses - indeed the film opens with a still from the film – depicting the death of Carmilla. As such it also owes a debt to Le Fanu’s Carmilla and perhaps it does capture the spirit of the story, in certain ways, as it tries to meet the spirit of Vadim’s opus.

The film begins with scenes that include a vampire – referred to as Dracula – at a bubble releasing piano. We have to remember that this is very much a surreal film, an experimental art film. It captures emotion and plays with the audience. I will admit that perhaps some of the nuances were lost on me as I saw this ‘raw’ as it were, thus in its original mix of English and Japanese but without subtitles. In many respects, however, the films story is relayed in visuals and in the astounding soundtrack that oscillates between chamber music and wild jazz.

The main of the film is about a girl, Emi, who lives by the sea but decides to travel. She meets Sari, who is said to be just like Emi. Emi also meets a man but there is an allusion to relations between Emi and Sari’s mother – who preferred softer flesh and thus preferred Emi. As the film progresses you would be forgiven for wondering where the vampiric connection is. The spirit of Carmilla might be found within the friendship of the two girls but all hints of vampirism seem to have vanished.

It is in the coda when we see two women in a cemetery, in which a vampire seems to lurk. One of the women seemed rather proper and the other seemed more sensual. It was to the more sensual of the two that the vampire came, casting his mojo upon her until she swooned into his arms.

He sucks her blood through a straw and the second woman looks at the first’s neck and sees a single mark (obviously as a straw rather than fangs was used). The woman, now looking pale, turns to the other and goes to bite her neck. We now have two female vampires and they walk deeper into the cemetery. Did it have anything to do with the main film? Not obviously. However the presence of the vampire and the homage to Vadim ensures that this is mentioned here. The imdb page is here.

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