Clara on the balcony of the Byzantium

Friday Film Pick – Byzantium

Byzantium Film Poster

Confession time – I love vampires.

Well not literally, BUT vampire mythology, literature and film.

Sorry though Twi-hards, as much as I love sparkles, I don’t like Twilight. I even read the series. And those are many long hours of my life I’ll never get back. Thanks Stephenie Meyer.

Eleanor Trapped in the Lift

Anyway! Byzantium however is a totally different beast than sparkle-town.

Directed by Neil Jordan (also the director of 1994’s film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interveiw With a Vampire), Byzantium tells the story of a vampire mother – Clara (played by Gemma Arterton) and daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan).

Clara & Eleanor by the Amusement Arcade

Set against the modern backdrop of Brighton – a coastal city in the South East of England the film jumps between present day and the Napoleonic Wars, giving us a glimpse of Clara and Eleanor’s origin story.

But even in the world of vampires it would seem women are marginalized and the film deals with feminist concerns of both human and the supernatural. Despite their vampiric powers Clara and Eleanor find themselves living on the fringes of society, running from their past until it ultimately catches up with them.

Gemma Arterton in Byzantium

Beautifully shot, the imagery of Byzantium lingers in the mind well after the film has ended.

Saoirse Ronan in Byzantium

I caught Byzantium originally with my friends Nikolai and Kate when it premiered at TIFF and quite enjoyed it. Having watched it again recently on Netflix, it’s still really enjoyable.

Blood Waterfalls in Byzantium

If you have time to kill and don’t feel like doing the Netflix trawl it’s definitely worth checking out as Jordan offers up a fresh and interesting take on vampire mythos.

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