Japanese director Shunji Iwai’s first english-language feature!
Vampire is the story of a young biology teacher, who seduces suicidal girls so that he can drink their blood.
The last time Iwai directed a film, it was Hana & Alice in 2004. Since then, he worked on several projects, mostly documentaries – in 2006, he paid tribute to one of his great inspirations, director Kon Ichikawa, and in 2011, he took his camera to make Friends After 3.11, about the Fukushima accident.
One could guess he’s just one of the many independent filmmakers in Japan struggling to find funding for their projects. Which is why Vampire looks like an interesting move. If Iwai can’t make Japanese films, because the market is too limited, he’s trying something else.
The film premiered at Sundance in January 2011, and received harsh reviews. Critics were dissatisfied with Iwai’s style, said to be too goofy, too self-conscious, with some writing & acting issues. They were maybe expecting an original take on the vampire myth, with supernatural elements, when it’s more of a down-to-earth view on murder & suicide (with an indie feel in it) (read this Q&A).
Was the reception cold enough to scare off distributors? There wasn’t any news about the film until now, mid-June 2012. Because Vampire is finally getting released… in Japan on September 12th, 2012.