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dir. Hans W. Geißendörfer, 1971
97 mins. West Germany.
In German with English subtitles.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 3 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 23 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 26 – 7:30 PM
The text of Dracula, authored by a sexually repressed and xenophobic Irish monarchist, has been the perfect backdrop for a century’s worth of questionable cinematic allegory. In 1931, Bela Legosi wore a Star of David under his cape. In 1992, Gary Oldman was the Voivode Vlad, an eternal victor against the Ottoman Empire. In early 70’s Germany, however, there was an allegorical subject too raw to touch—the exception being Hans Geißendörfer and his underseen treasure: JONATHAN.
Geißendörfer uses a krautrock soundtrack and almost Yusov-esque turns of the camera to portray a sunlight-basking, vampire ruling class. Under their control is a landless peasantry, subject to bloodletting and imprisonment by their opulent overlords. Enter a ragtag fellowship of urban vampire hunters, something of an anti-fascist league, who have a plan to drive the vampires into the sea. Jonathan is the scout, assigned to enter the castle of the head vampire and his horde of red-cloaked supplicants. When he arrives, Dracula explains: “If you could see through my eyes, you would understand completely.”
To quote an online review, “Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Sounds like an easy plot to follow, right? Wrong.” Let yourself be entranced by the entire atmosphere of this loose Dracula adaptation, which unfolds like a dense 14th century Flemish triptych. You will lose some blood, but only enough to lust for more.
From Two Adaptations By Hans Geißendörfer.