SYNOPSIS

Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover.

Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister.

Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?

Director’s Statement

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is an unconventional love story between a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. (My script was partially inspired by the last book published by Mark Twain: The Diaries of Adam and Eve -- though no direct reference to the book is made other than the character’s names.) These two lovers are archetypal outsiders, classic bohemians, extremely intelligent and sophisticated -- yet still in full possession of their animal instincts. They have traveled the world and experienced many remarkable things, always inhabiting the shadowed margins of society. And, like their own love story, their particular perspective on human history spans centuries -- because they happen to be vampires.

But this is not your usual vampire story. Set in the very distinct cities of Detroit and Tangier, and taking place almost entirely at night, Adam and Eve must have human blood to survive. But they now live in the world of the 21st century where biting the neck of a stranger would be reckless and regressive -- for survival, they must be certain the blood that sustains them is pure and free of disease or contamination. And, almost like shadows, they have learned long ago to deftly avoid the attention of any authorities.

For our film, the vampire is a resonant metaphor -- a way to frame the deeper intentions of the story. This is a love story, but also the story of two exceptional outsiders who, given their unusual circumstances, have a vast overview of human and natural history, including stunning achievements and tragic and brutal failures. Adam and Eve are themselves metaphors for the present state of human life -- they are fragile and endangered, susceptible to natural forces, and to the shortsighted behavior of those in power.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Jim Jarmusch has long been considered a seminal figure in American independent cinema. His films are often noted for their transcendent minimalism and upturning of traditional genres such as the road movie, western, crime-film, and detective story.

Born in Akron, Ohio, Jarmusch attended Columbia University where he studied literature and poetry with renowned New York School poets Kenneth Koch and David Shapiro. But it was a semester abroad in Paris frequenting the Cinémathèque Française that ignited Jarmusch’s passion for filmmaking. Upon his return to the US, Jarmusch enrolled in the esteemed filmmaking program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. There he assisted Hollywood legend Nicholas Ray and wrote and directed his first film, PERMANENT VACATION (1980).

Set in downtown Manhattan, PERMANENT VACATION captured a moment in the cultural history of then-decaying New York, and the attention of audiences and critics alike, winning the Josef von Sternberg Prize in Manheim, Germany in 1980.

Jarmusch followed with STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984), a journey through the American landscape taken by a young Hungarian woman, her American cousin and his friend. The film gained international acclaim and went on to win the Camera d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival, solidifying Jarmusch’s place in the world of international cinema.

DOWN BY LAW (1986) Jarmusch’s “neo-beat-noir-comedy” was a further exploration of America from the outside-in and marked the beginning of a long collaboration between Jarmusch and esteemed Dutch director of photography, Robby Müller.

In 1987 Jarmusch was the recipient of a German DAAD fellowship and spent half a year living and writing in Berlin. There he conceived the initial idea for his next film, MYSTERY TRAIN (1989), a kind of “minimalist’s version of the Canterbury Tales” in which an Englishman, an Italian woman and a Japanese couple each make pilgrimages to Memphis, Tennessee.

With NIGHT ON EARTH (1991) Jarmusch turned his attention to moments often overlooked in cinema -- the taxi journey between places -- and shot entirely on location inside moving taxicabs in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Helsinki, with world-renowned actors from each city.

Jarmusch reinterpreted conventional genres with DEAD MAN (1995) and GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI (1999) and emerged with a “psychedelic western” and a hip-hop gangster samurai film which have since developed incredibly strong cult followings.

In 2003 Jarmusch completed and released the critically acclaimed COFFEE AND CIGARETTES, a series of comic vignettes shot over the course of two decades, with an extremely eclectic group of extraordinary actors and musicians portraying an equally eclectic collection of oddballs.

BROKEN FLOWERS (2005) and THE LIMITS OF CONTROL (2009) each tell the story of two very different lone men. The former an aging “Don Juan” on a search through “Generica” for the writer of an anonymous letter informing him he has a son, and the latter a hit-man making his way through Spain to meet his mark.
BROKEN FLOWERS went on to win the Grand Prix in Cannes in 2005.

IMAGES


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CAST

AdamTom Hiddleston
EveTilda Swinton
AvaMia Wasikowska
MarloweJohn Hurt
IanAnton Yelchin
Dr. WatsonJeffrey Wright
BilalSlimane Dazi
Scott Carter Logan
Mirror ManWayne Brinston

CREDITS

DirectorJim Jarmusch
ScreenplayJim Jarmusch
CinematographyYorick Le Saux
EditorAffonso Gonçalves
Original MusicJozef van Wissem
Production Design Marco Bittner Rosser
Art DirectionAnja Fromm, Anu Schwartz
Set DecorationSelina van den Brink
Costume DesignBina Daigeler
CastingEllen Lewis
ProducersJeremy Thomas, Reinhard Brundig
Executive ProducersChristos V. Konstantakopoulos, Jean Labadie, Stacey E. Smith, Bart Walker
Co-ProducersCarter Logan, Marco Mehlitz, Gian-Piero Ringel, Christine Strobl
Associate producersViola Fügen, Alainée Kent
Production Companies Recorded Picture Company, Pandora Filmproduktion
Co-Production CompaniesARD Degeto Film, Lago Film, Neue Road Movies, Faliro House Productions