Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Short Film: Kiss of the Moon

Directed by Simon Lewis and released in 2009 this was a short film, low on dialogue with (perhaps) a nod towards Jean Rollin and also Bram Stoker. The latter is very much within the character names, as you will see, rather than what occurs.

It begins with a woman, Vivia (Aliese Kellner-Joyce), stood atop a building (probably a car park) looking down at the street whilst she stands beneath a full moon. She watches a man, Harker (Neil Jennings), who is stood on his own smoking a cigarette. Suddenly hands cover his eyes. It is his girlfriend Mina (Anna Charlett) she seems happy, playful but there is a moment of doubt – she has a secret. I should say at this point that although there is some dialogue, it is sparse and deliberately pushed down so that it feels incidental almost within the soundtrack.

Renfield with Vivia
Vivia is grabbed by a man, Renfield (Anthony O'Callaghan), he seems to be pushing something (a pill?) into her mouth and she screams into the night. Harker leaves Mina (to her concern) to chase after the scream, pulls Renfield away (who runs off) and holds Vivia to calm her. She starts to kiss him, suckle at his hand (he cut himself as he ran to the scene) and then seems to vanish away. Harker returns to Mina

Harker and Mina
They go to a club. Mina looks to score drugs (I assume E) and spots Renfield dealing. Harker doesn’t recognise him and is unaware of Vivia watching him. He scores from Renfield, shares with Mina but he becomes physically jealous when she dances with another guy and she runs out. He follows her, tries to talk to her but she’s having none of it. They split apart but he is soon searching for her again, however they are being stalked.

At this point the best way I can describe the film, as it goes on, is hallucinatory. Mina sees Harker, holds him but he becomes Vivia. He sees Mina with Renfield in the same spot. How much is the drugs and how much the vampire (only Vivia would seem to be a vampire) is almost irrelevant as the drugs play a role in the hunt. Indeed, we see her feed from a girl that is insensible and whom Renfield had given drugs to.

the other world
I mentioned a perceived nod to Jean Rollin and there seems to be another world, a world apart and filtered, that is the vampire’s realm. This realm is by the shore (actually Dunraven Bay, South Wales, whilst the main of the film is shot in Bristol) and this otherworld signified by the seashore was very Rollin – though whether this was coincidental or a deliberate nod I don’t know. The film comes across very much as a psychodrama and there is an underlying character story that the film moves towards.

This was a tad style over substance but it cleverly (and successfully) left much to the audience to translate rather than spoon feeding. The imdb page is here and they have the film available to stream.

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