★★★★/★★★★★ Byzantium directed by Neil Jordan.
This is a horror/fantasy film, featuring vampires as a misogynistic group, hunting down a woman who dared make herself and her daughter a vampire.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Clara is forced into prostitution by Captain Ruthven, and she gives birth to Eleanor, who she cannot take care for, so she puts her in a private orphanage and pays for her and visits her every night. Clara develops tuberculosis, and does somethings (will be spoiler if I tell you) and becomes vampire. She then turns her daughter.
Eleanor Webb is the daughter. She writes her story, of the hundred or so years she has lived as she is now, and then scatters the pages in the wind. “ My story can never be told. I write it over and over, wherever we find shelter. I write of what I cannot speak: the truth. I write all I know of it, then I throw the pages to the wind. Maybe the birds can read it.” She does not like being a vampire, because she hates the killing, and I was not sure how much she must have resented her mother for turning her. She later falls for a boy named Frank who is dying of leukemia, and her mother does not approve, as she believes it will put them in danger. I loved her character, she is trapped in a life she does not want, but cannot escape or she will die. She is a crime, constantly being in the run from the god-damn patriarchy of vampires, and if she is captured, she knows her mum will do anything to try and save her.
“Once upon a time, I was born. It is still a fact that the day you are born is the day you are most likely to be murdered. More human souls are killed by mothers’ hands, than by the hands of strangers. My mother tried to murder me, but love confounded her.”
Clara Webb is the mother. She is very over protective, but loves her daughter, which is the main reason they are being persecuted. Clara made her daughter a vampire in order to protect her from the man that made Clara a “whore,” who was going to rape her. She is hands down the best character in the story. Overprotective, enduring, a perfect Slytherin. She does what she knows in order to survive, the life that was thrust upon her, prostitution, using her beauty and wits to keep her and Eleanor alive.
The fantasy aspects comes from the world of vampires, which I believe was a nice addition to the cannon. In here vampires are made after they decide to die. They go to an island and must endure death and hallucinations and some creepy things we don’t truly understand. Then they become immortal, well they can still die but their heads must be chopped off. These vampires only live for along time, and they have the skills they make themselves. They have no natural super-human-strength, nor night vision, and they most definitely do not fly, instead they have the same skills as before they turned, plus whichever skills they have learned during their vampire life. They cannot even make other vampires, they must take them to the island where it is to happen.
Feminism or fighting the patriarchy:
The brotherhood of vampires things that the women vampires are an affront to nature, which I believe comes from their outdated and ridiculous views due to the time they were conceived. They see themselves as “ pointed nails of justice” even as they seem a pair of old men in need of a shower. Clara and Eleanor are basically giving this sexist order the middle finger, as they have, for around 200 years avoided capture, since the order will not rest until they are dead, and only vampire males survive. See it as you want, but to me it is a bit of a feminist film, sort of like a backdrop.
Romance: It is only a little bit and a huge part of the story. It is in the end love that saves them both, not just love for each other, but love others feel for them.
Cinematography and Pictures: So beautiful. A word to describe this film: breathtaking. This is what I love about movies most, it is not only about the story, but pictures and how beautiful they are as they describe the events, as sometimes certain things cannot be expressed with words alone.
Now go and watch it, it has Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan, and they are beautiful, and perfect, and brilliant actresses.
“My mother did three things for me. One, she spared my life the day that I was born. Two, she paid for my upkeep on her knees and on her back. And three, she gave me the story I can never tell. “