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"Sometimes I need to get away. I want to be alone, without all this confusion. A tree, a lake and a dog... I dream of that." ... "I'm not really good for much of anything. I'm lucky, because my father, although he is a real bastard, looks after me. He's wealthy." ... "Family money, from Romania. It goes way back, and like all vast fortunes of this kind, it come from the suffering and exploitation of the poor, the peasants and the workers." ... "I want to simplify my life even on a superficial level. The problem is its hard to resist the feeling that all this choices in our lives, that everything is superficial."

Extracts from Nadja starting dialogue

N a d j a

Grey and sad, these are the colours that taint the days and nights where Michael Almereyda's vampires confronts theirs immortality with simple facts of life, like the death of a father or the incomprehension between brothers. Blood is a metaphor, a mirror that reflects the symmetry between dark fantasies of a world of "what could be" and simple frames of reality in the irony and confusion of "what is in fact" - blood is the bond that ties families, even when it becomes a curse: both in the case of an hypothetical immortality or common family conflicts. Family and blood, sadness and loneliness… the immortality is just an excuse used to express the emptiness of the character's life's. But what is the story of Nadja (1994), and why is one of the best independent movies ever made?

The set: New York at night. In one bar, two strangers are talking about their life. One of them its a exotic girl, known by the name of Nadja (Elina Lowensohn). She's smoking a cigarette while disconnected phrases about her existence slips out of her mouth. Yet, the subtle combination of the words that we can hear, entrails a sweet flavour of melancholy and create a perfect introduction to the strange story that we are about to presence.

Irony and sadness, the main drives of Nadja argument, are explicated stated on those lines. In fact, isn't that what vampirism is all about? Being alone for all eternity. That contradiction, between the gain of eternal life (transcending humanity), and yet, the maintenance of humanity's greatest strengths (the capacity for love others) and weakness (the need for love and to be loved), is presented like a kind of infection that, with time, affects all vampires, leaving them as a rat on mousetrap, without any escape. This consuming pain over vampires own existence is clearly stated by Van Helsing (Peter Fonda) while talking to his nephew Jim (Martin Donovan), after killing Dracula, from which Nadja is daughter: "He was like Elvis in the end. Drugs. Confused. Surrounded by zombies. The magic was gone."

With the death of her father, we can see that Nadja´s "infection" spreads, as she starts to look for an escape from the void that is opening inside her, roaming all night on bars in search of love. It's in one of those bars, that she finds and seduces Jim's wife Lucy (Galaxy Craze). From this moment on, we can see that a web ironic causalities is slowly set on the all characters life's, connecting every player on the set in the most delicious way:

Nadja´s father was killed by Van Helsing. His nephew Jim, helps in the hunting of Dracula's progeny. Jim, is married to Lucy. Lucy has a pet named Bela, which lives on beer and potato salad. Nadja finds Lucy in a bar. Nadja gets fascinated by Lucy and, after a night of wild pleasure, decides to sheer the gift of immortality with her. Van Helsing has a clue of how to track down Nadja, so he tries to get in touch with her twin brother Edgar (Jared Harris), which was a renegade their father's eyes because he decided not to feed on others blood. So he's with a very delicate health condition and needs the care of a nurse. When Van Helsing and Jim found them, they also discover that Edgar's nurse is Cassandra (Suzy Amis), Jim's half-sister.

This complicated and almost forced connections between all characters relations regards each others, can sound like a cheap TV soap, but they aren't. They represent the absurd of life. As reality, this movie is a great theatre of irony and sadness, were all player are lost in the search of something: love, revenge, relieve. Filmed in 35mm black and white (and some parts with a $45 Fisher-Price PXL-2000 toy camera), Nadja is a brilliant movie, with remarkable interpretations, and with a unique soundtrack, in which we can find groups like My Bloody Valentine, Space Hog, Verve and Portishead.
Nadja
Nadja
Directed by: Michael Almereyda, 1994, USA
Cast: Elina Lowensohn (Nadja), Peter Fonda (Van Helsing), Jared Harris (Edgar), Suzy Amis (Cassandra), Galaxy Craze (Lucy), Martin Donovan (Jim), Karl Geary (Renfield) and David Lynch (morgue attendant);
Producers: Amy Hobby and Mary Sweeney
Executive Producer: David Lynch;
Director of Photography: Jim Denault
Script by: Michael Almereyda
Film Editing: David Leonard (II)
Costume Design: Prudence Moriarty
Original music by: Simon Fisher-Turner
Running Time: 100 min.
Detailed information about cast and crew at IMDB
Where can i adquire this movie?
  • Nadja: DVD Zone 1 - USA version (92 minutes)

  • Nadja: VHS PAL format - UK version (running time not available)

  • Nadja: VHS NTSC format - USA version (running time not available)
  • Portuguese release:
  • Nadja - Atalanta Video (1996), 100 minutes, available only on VHS PAL format
  • Extras & Goodies:
  • Nadja´s portuguese press-release
  • Written by Pedro Vieira, June, 2001
    First online release on Goths Anonymous´s website, July, 2001
    Karnivour release with online buying options and additional information resources, June, 2002

    Michael Almereyda, 1994, USA