Dracula - Pages from a Virgin's Diary
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For those familiar with the novel or the various film versions of "Dracula" that have tried to stay in the vicinity of Stoker's original text, the story picks up in England with Lucy Westernra (Tara Birthwhistle) trying to pick between her three suitors, Dr. Jack Seward (Matthew Johnson), Arthur Holmwood (Stephane Leonard), and Quincy Morris (Keir Knight), not to mention creepy bug-eating Renfield (Brent Neale). When Lucy falls prey to the vampire's curse, Dr. Van Helsing (David Moroni) arrives to teach the unbelievers what to do when someone they love becomes one of the undead.
The second half of the ballet deal with the effort by Dracula (Wei-Qiang Zhang) to take Mina (CindyMarie Small) away from her intended, Jonathan Harker (Johnny A. Wright), and the flight back to Castle Dracula.Read more ›
Unlike the previous Murnau and Herzog vampire films Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary has purposely shifted its storyline from a typical chronological order to a tossed jumble. This cinematic mixture generates an unconscious imagery with a surrealistic touch where the audience senses the moments of suspense and alarm. There are also emotions such as deep desire and lust which also emerge through the vivid movements of the dancers that once again bring this tale of the dark prince coming to England. Some might assume that the unorganized pattern of the film would affect the experience in a negative way. However, Maddin skillfully induces this nightmare into a surrealistic concoction that allows for the combination of feelings to trickle down to the audience in an artistic manner.
The sexual element of vampires is kept intact in Maddin's film, as he also continues to develop this taboo ridden theme. The film opens with Lucy (Tara Birtwhistle) dreaming, which is illustrated through a number of bizarre shots that have been edited together that deal with the arrival of Dracula (Wei-Qiang Zhang).Read more ›
Since this film is essentially a filmed ballet, all of the acting is done in mime. As a result, the film is given an almost silent film (complete with sub-titles) atmosphere to the whole proceedings. Zhang Wei-Qiang makes for a romantic, yet imperiously aloof Dracula, while CindyMarie Small is just the right blend of innocence and desire as Mina. However, it is Tara Birtwhistle's Lucy and David Maroni's Van Helsing that truly capture the attention. Birtwhistle exudes both playfulness and raw sexuality in her stunning portrayal, while Maroni's intense bearing makes him a formidable foe for Dracula.
The entire ensemble does wonderful work and the film goes at a good clip at 74 minutes. However, the film's first half is probably more interesting to non-ballet fans as most of the special effects and wild staging seem to take place here. The DVD has some wonderful extras including some radio interviews with the producer and director, a Canadian news story about the film, photos, and an insightful commentary by Maddin.
For fans of ballet, Dracula, or both, this film is definitely a must-see and something that I would highly recommend.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While most people who are familiar with the Stoker novel might be a bit put off by this retelling, I was actually really pleased with the result. Read morePublished on August 2, 2011 by Josephine K Guinn
Blood! Crosses! Madness! Ballet! Bats! Garlic! And of course, VAMPIRES! "Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary" is exactly the sort of adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel that you'd... Read morePublished on July 24, 2010 by EA Solinas
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