Thoughts on the film Byzantium

First, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of vampire movies — or, at least, I’m very picky about them. I was a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but haven’t found all the many other films or novels concerning vampires that really interest me. (No, Terence, I’m not including Bite Marks or Blood Pressure, both of which were a lot of fun.)

However, last weekend I went to see Byzantium, a new movie by Neil Jordan. I went mainly because a friend suggested it, and because I really wasn’t in the mood for yet another superhero crash-and-bang fest. (“Dr. Evil is dead! We’ve won!” “You’ve destroyed a major American city, causing the death of hundreds, afflicting thousands of others with physical and mental hurts that will last them their whole lives, made thousands more homeless or lost them their livelihood!” “Yes, but Dr. Evil is dead and I saved my sexy girlfriend, so good has triumphed!”)

What I did not expect was a new retelling of the myth in which the protagonists are two strong flawed women who approach their vampire needs (and their eternal lives) in different ways; who even have different approaches to their need for secrecy (not only to protect themselves from a society that can’t or won’t understand, but from the “brotherhood” of vampires who long ago decided that girls — especially girls who are openly sexual — aren’t allowed in their clubhouse).

I don’t wish to actually review the film; I’ll leave that to others. I just wanted to say that I am still thinking about it, more than a day later, and that I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in a new and feminist take on the mythos.

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