Loving each other is in the blood

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive
Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive

Cult American director Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (Cert 15) is a sort of vampire story but characteristically he proves less interested in blood-sucking than contemplating human existence.

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are perfect casting as cadaverous immortals. Adam is a reclusive musician in Detroit despairing of the world and contemplating suicide with a fabled wooden bullet.

By contrast his wife of many centuries, Eve (Tilda Swinton), is full of life hanging out in Tangiers with undead playwright Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) who has a regular supply of uncontaminated blood (the parallels to heroin are obvious). But picking up Adam’s bad vibes via Skype she catches a night flight to his side but her wild younger sister (Mia Wasikowska) turns up and causes ructions.

It is at this point the film really takes off and things start to happen since Jarmusch, as ever, favours style and atmosphere over drama and story and for all its witty dialogue and visuals it is for the most part achingly slow.

A moody erotic thriller, Stranger By The Lake (Cert 18) earned Alain Guiraudie plaudits and awards at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

At its centre is Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) who makes daily visits to a secluded lakeside beach where nude gay men sunbathe and occasionally nip off into the undergrowth for anonymous sexual encounters. Franck develops a fixation with rugged older man Michel (Christophe Paou) which doesn’t diminish when he witnesses him perpetrating a shocking act. Rather than tell the police, he carries on following his passionate desires knowing he is in danger.

Despite its graphic sex rarely seen outside the realms of porn, the film deserves to be taken seriously for its spare visual quality and thought-provoking subtext, whether as a metaphor for AIDs or simply the perils in seeking intimacy

Ian Soutar