A ballet rendition of Bram Stoker's gothic novel DRACULA, presented in a style reminiscent of the silent expressionistic cinema of the early 20th Century. This work employs the subtle and ...
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A ballet rendition of Bram Stoker's gothic novel DRACULA, presented in a style reminiscent of the silent expressionistic cinema of the early 20th Century. This work employs the subtle and sometimes bold use of color to emphasize its themes, but mainly is presented in black-and-white, or tinted in monochrome. No spoken dialogue can be heard, and the story of a sinister but intriguing immigrant who preys upon young English women unfolds through dance, pantomime and subtitles. Written by
"Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary" does the impossible - it makes ballet entertaining to me. I've never been remotely interested in ballet. While I admit it takes a lot of skill to perform, it always bores me. That being said, I'm shocked at how much I enjoyed "Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary". Considering the fact that I was moderately biased towards hating the film, thats a remarkable accomplishment. In fact, I'd say its one of the greatest adaptations of the much-filmed novel, right up there with both of the versions of "Nosferatu" by Murnau and Herzog. Its all testament to how talented and visionary director Guy Maddin is.
Maddin crafts this as a silent film. If you're unfamiliar with Guy Maddin, what he generally does is create surrealist fantasy films in the style of silent and early sound cinema. He typically does this with a droll and campy sense of humor. While his humor works in other films, he thankfully avoids it here - while this version of "Dracula" is never outright frightening, its beautifully dreamlike, and any gags would've ruined it completely.
Also, Maddin jettisons the whole "vampire as a metaphor for venereal disease" motif which has been overdone while taking on a much more relevant subtext of modern day xenophobia. Still, there is a heavy sense of eroticism throughout the film. "Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary" isn't my personal favorite Maddin film, but its possibly his finest achievement. I never saw myself recommending ballet, but this is definitely mandatory viewing. (9/10)
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