Tilda Swinton in Only Lovers Left Alive

Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk from EYES IN Magazine and www.eyesin.com attended the Interview Round Table with Tilda Swinton at the Cannes Film Festival and hopes to share with you in our next EYES IN Magazine an article about Tilda Swinton's role in "Only Lovers Left Alive," her innovative film projects she has created with Mark Cousins and more about a future film she stars in.

Director's Statement on "Only Lovers Left Alive" by Jim Jarmusch

"Only Lovers Left Alive" is an unconventional love story between a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. (My script was partially inspired by the last book published by Mark Twain: The Diaries of Adam and Eve--though no direct reference to the book is made other than the character’s names.) These two lovers are archetypal outsiders, classic bohemians, extremely intelligent and sophisticated--yet still in full possession of their animal instincts. They have traveled the world and experienced many remarkable things, always inhabiting the shadowed margins of society. And, like their own love story, their particular perspective on human history spans centuries--because they happen to be vampires.

But this is not your usual vampire story.

Set in the very distinct cities of Detroit and Tangier, and taking place almost entirely at night, Adam and Eve must have human blood to survive. But they now live in the world of the 21st century where biting the neck of a stranger would be reckless and regressive -- for survival, they must be certain the blood that sustains them is pure and free of disease or contamination. And, almost like shadows, they have learned long ago to deftly avoid the attention of any authorities.

For our film, the vampire is a resonant metaphor -- a way to frame the deeper intentions of the story. This is a love story, but also the story of two exceptional outsiders who, given their unusual circumstances, have a vast overview of human and natural history, including stunning achievements and tragic and brutal failures. Adam and Eve are themselves metaphors for the present state of human life -- they are fragile and endangered, susceptible to natural forces, and to the shortsighted behavior of those in power.

Benoit Pavan of Cannes provides the following commentary on and quotes from "Only Lovers Left Alive":

"This unique figure in American independent film offers up a reflection on human existence in Only Lovers Left Alive, the love story between two vampires. As is his wont, he liberates himself from traditional narrative codes.

If there is one characteristic that critics agree on with regard to the films of Jim Jarmusch, it is the fact that he strays from the beaten paths of the film industry. From his earliest works, the American director has been a fierce advocate of free movement in cinema, evolving visually and especially financially outside the conventional and traditional circuits established by the Hollywood studios.

Jarmusch likes to beak the codes and escape from the framework that governs popular film, and this aspiration colours his films as much as his characters, who are often quirky. The Ohio native always tries to depict eccentric or marginal characters, sometimes lyrically. The two main protagonists of Only Lovers Left Alive fall into this groove.

Adam and Eve are two enigmatic vampires who have been in love for centuries. They watch the decline of the human race with a melancholy detachment. Almost completely filmed at night, in Detroit and in Tangiers, the film narrates their passionate reunions, but Jarmusch intends to convey another message. He uses the figure of the vampire, an eternal being, to express a disillusioned perspective on humanity.

"Adam and Eve are metaphors for the current state of human life. They are fragile and threatened, so vulnerable in the face of nature and the thoughtless behaviour of those in power," the director explains. He was inspired by the book written by Mark Twain, The Private Life of Adam and Eve (for which the latest edition dates from 1994) to construct the plot of this feature film, which he calls his "Crypto-vampire love story".

Adam and Eve are brought to life on the screen by Tom Hiddleston Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris, The Deep Blue Sea) and Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Moonrise Kigdom), whom Jarmusch had already directed in The Limits of Control (2009) and Broken Flowers, which won the Grand Prix in 2005. A big fan of rock music, the director has his film accompanied by an original sound track that is entirely composed by bands from Detroit."

American director Jim Jarmusch, the producers of Only Lovers Left Alive and the film's actors, including Tilda Swinton and John Middleston took questions from the press.

Jim Jarmusch, on the inspiration behind his film:

I have wanted to direct a vampire love story for the past seven years. It was difficult to finance, but Tilda, with whom I talked at the very beginning, never gave up, even when everything became complicated.

Jim Jarmusch, on the presence of two British actors in the lead roles:

As far as I am aware, vampire stories in literature come from England. There is something very British about them. The perception that the English have of literature and the rest of the world is exceptional and I wanted to highlight this aspect in this way.

Jim Jarmusch talking about his choice of location:

Tangier and Detroit are abstract towns, they are two places that attract me for personal reasons. Detroit was a mysterious and magical city. Today it's a city in a depressing, tragic situation. But it still has an inspired music scene. Music is also very important in the film. Nothing was chosen by chance. This film has a visual music.

Tilda Swinton, on vampires:

We are all fascinated by vampires. Certainly because they live forever and because we are terrified of death. What I love in this film is the idea of life and hidden work.

Tom Hiddleston talked about his role:

The role of Adam contained fascinating perspectives. I liked the idea of playing a character who embodies melancholy and romanticism. It's a beautiful story of two people who love and accept one another. We explored love in the context of immortality.

Synopsis of Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive is set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover.

Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister.

Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?


Jim JARMUSCH - Director
Jim JARMUSCH - Screenplay
Yorick LE SAUX - Cinematography
Marco BITTNER ROSSER - Set Designer
SQÜRL - Music
Jozef VAN WISSEM - Music
Affonso GONCALVES - Film Editor
John MIDGLEY - Sound


Tilda SWINTON - Eve
John HURT - Marlowe
Anton YELCHIN - Ian
Slimane DAZI - Bilal
Jeffrey WRIGHT - Dr. Watson

Source: Cannes Film Festival

For more information regarding Cannes and Only Lovers Left Alive, please visit the official website at: http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en.html

EYES IN Magazine is live at the Cannes Film Festival 2013, bringing you the latest news in innovative cinema. Please check EYESIN.com daily as we update it with the festival happenings.

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