Neil Jordan is one of my favorite storytellers. Every film he does is beautiful and surreal with the haunting soul of a fairy tale. He’s directed The Company of Wolves, The Crying Game, Ondine, and let us not forget Interview with the Vampire. I look forward to every take he has on stories with supernatural elements, so needless to say when I found out that he had directed yet another film about vampires I was beside myself. That film is called Byzantium.
Byzantium is the story of two mysterious women who stay at a rundown resort called Byzantium. They claim that they are sisters, but in truth they are over 200 years old, live off blood, and are mother and daughter. They are also haunted by a past and are constantly running from it, but it seems that it has finally caught up with them.
Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan star in this movie as the mother and daughter and both are incredibly talented actors. One of the reasons why I am so looking forward to this is because it’s a vampire story about women. Most of the popular vampire stories out there involve a vampire man and a human woman and typically the woman is a glorified Mary Sue to fulfill the viewer’s vampire fantasy. Now those stories can be fun, do not get me wrong, but it’s starting to become a bit redundant. Thankfully this appears to not be the case with Byzantium. It’s a story that delves into the vampire mythos through the perspective of an eternal mother and daughter. I really want to see how they build that relationship and what it turns into over the centuries, especially when the mother looks young enough to be the daughter’s sister.
Our society has been inundated with vampire tales, some not so fantastic, but I cannot help but be excited for this one. Jordan has a mastery with atmosphere and visuals and using them in an effective way to tell a story. Since he did such an incredible job with Interview with the Vampire by capturing its heart, I am optimistic that he has done the same with Byzantium. I am looking forward to a vampire tale that harkens back to the myth’s dark and gothic origins while also translating it to modern times. It appears that Byzantium truly focuses on the consequences of immortality and the cruelty of having the greatest secret and the loneliness of never being able to share it.
It has been so long since a vampire film has focused on that aspect of the mythos and I cannot help but be excited. Here’s to hoping that the vampire genre can eventually crawl out of the rut it has been stuck in and can be something that people don’t sigh and roll their eyes at anymore.