A vampire movie by Jim Jarmusch would not just be another fantasy hoax over bloodsuckers. That was already clear before. The fact that almost no single critic has even begun to understand what it is all about and what has been created by the cult director’s work with “Only Lovers Left Alive” really surprised me.
As unreal as the gloomy existence of vampires is for real-world people, so strange and unattainable seems to be the average viewer who tends to be the real life of musicians, especially rock musicians.
Jim Jarmusch is a music nerd
Of course, one or two movie critics have recognized that Jim Jarmusch is a music nerd and has previously worked with musicians such as Tom Waits or RZA and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan as an actor, calling him “Only Lovers Left Alive” his own band Sqürl contributed music to the soundtrack, and that the male protagonist Adam, after all, embodies a rock star whose world, like the vinyl record, is all about music and collects rare vintage guitars that are extensively presented in real hobby.
The deep look behind the scenes of Rockbiz
But at second glance, Jim Jarmusch goes deeper into the world of music making and making music – with all his beautiful and bad sides. Nobody before him has shown that close and true. “Only Lovers Left Alive” is a film about the Rockbiz and is full of analogies in his typical imagery for Jarmusch.
Musicians are night creatures
Most obvious, of course, is the fact that musicians work to a large extent at night, cut off from society and from the hustle and bustle of daylight, which sometimes gives rise to a sense of loneliness, especially when you have buried yourself in the home studio and get yourself for composing quasi in a “tunnel”. At this time, encounters are more likely to be with other night-creatures who are only dreamers of their own world.
A rock star who likes to rest privately has to move inconspicuously – like vampires. Freaks and fanatical fans usually have no understanding for this.
Creativity and burnout
Adam’s “life-weariness” comes at the end of an exhausting, creative process, with the completion of a composition. Making music is about transporting emotions. For many musicians, the creation of music is a very personal matter, and working on an album takes a lot of strength. Not infrequently, musicians then fall into a hole or feel a great emptiness and powerlessness.
The cliche of truth
The portrayal of how the vampires in Jarmusch’s film supply themselves with blood, and what effect they have on taking the vital elixir, is like a state of intoxication after taking drugs. A cliché that does not happen very often in the real world of rock music.
The love for special instruments is omnipresent. For musicians who are always on the lookout for a unique sound that distinguishes them from others, it is simply part of their work – of course, a passion to obsession, without which the myth of “Stradivari” for example would not exist.
The kiss of the muse
Eve is not just Adam’s wife. She is his muse. She inspires him and lets him work in peace. But she also brings him back down to earth, grounds him as necessary as the current of Nikola Tesla, and saves him from drifting off into the great nothing, the final energy loss.
Hardly a musician has not already asked himself the question what his work actually makes sense and what difference it makes for the world, whether it’s his music or not. A muse like Eve understands that. If at least she tells him how much she loves his music, then Adam has a reason to go on living.
What is more appropriate than deep, depressing epic rock?
Run-down Detroit, the “Motor City,” is not just for itself and the end of the great era of the car industry. The deserted city is a symbol of the end of the great era of appreciation of music in general. No people, no listeners, no fans, no buyers, no money. A run-down house where Adam plays his ass and his undead soul in his home studio – and then he gets robbed and can already listen to his music in the next club, even before the songs are even completed, let alone released. They love his music, but they will not buy it.
Eve’s sister Ava embodies the young groupie-chick, who likes to adorn Adams’s music, but does not understand his work and in her idolatrous insanity also cuts off the musician’s important umbilical cord to the music industry, destroying it with Ian Adams connection to Tageswelt.
A life without music
Omnipresent is Jim Jarmusch’s criticism of dealing with the achievements of cultural workers until the end of the film. Whether the music business is down or not, there will always be new music. In the film, she appears in the form of beguiling singer Yasmine Hadam, whose talent Adam and Eve recognize immediately. She will find it very difficult to live from her music. As hard as it has become for Adam and Eve to secure their blood supply. But in the end there is a way.
Because a life without music would be like a life without hope.