Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
Guy Maddin’s first feature film for six years is a highly stylized adaptation of Mark Godden’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet production of Bram Stoker’s enduring tale, commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Company and shot in mesmerising black-and-white-and-red. The performance itself (led by Zhang Wei-Qiang as the Count) is exquisite, but Maddin’s Dracula is more about film than it is about dance. He has combined Godden’s choreography, the Gustav Mahler score and his own unique take on the language of silent cinema to create a beautiful, inventive, erotic and thoroughly delirious fever-dream that manages to stay surprisingly true to the Stoker text. The director’s dry, surreal humour is on display in the intertitles.
“Giddily excessive and addictive… It might also be the most faithful screen version of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel – as well as filmmaker Guy Maddin’s best work to date.” — Mark Peranson
“By turns voluptuous, whimsical and exceedingly strange… Dracula is a compelling expressionistic work. Its dancer-actors, especially Zhang Wei-Qiang’s Dracula, Tara Birtwhistle’s Lucy, CindyMarie Small’s Nina, and the Dr Van Helsing of David Moroni, C. M., emote in the grand nostril-flaring tradition of silent melodrama. Their leering grimaces of the unhinged, fantasy-besotted characters are as memorable as Mark Godden's elegantly sexy choreography.” — Stephen Holden, NY Times
“A succulent treat.” — Deborah Young, Variety