2009_thirst_004America is awash in vampires.  And yet despite this flood of bloodsuckers, so many critical parts of the vampires experience get ignored or swept under the rug, as filmmakers and HBO seriesmakers use vampires as mere metaphors in their drives to tackles issues.

Now, from South Korea comes a film that shows America about the real challenges vampires face and the dilemmas they face in their day to day lives.

I enjoy “True Blood” as much as anyone, but let’s face it, the show is an entertainment. In the typical day (or night) of a vampire, they are as likely to come into contact with shapeshifters and maenads as you and I are to bump into General Custer waiting on line for a Godmother sub at Bay Cities.

In “Thirst” we are shown the gruesome, day-to-day adjustment that a person must make when he learns one day that he must drink human blood to survive; that dilemma is made all the more stark in “Thirst” by the fact that if he refuses to drink blood, his face breaks out in hideous boils – truly a fate worth than eternal death.

Most important, “Thirst” delivers perhaps the most authentic answer to the dilemma posed by most contemporary vampire literature – that of the vampire’s girlfriend.   Surely, this is the most complex and unwieldly question the arts tackle in this day and age, and surely how artists respond to this conundrum says everything about us as a society.    In “Twilight” Bella pretty much just ignores the issue of Edward’s vampirity, looking at it just as a nuisance standing in the way of them hooking up.  In “True Blood” Sookie treats it as an alternative lifestyle that by being open to, she can show how cool and open minded she is, and how on the inside, she’s messed up too.   This again skirts the issue.

In “Thirst” the vampire’s girlfriend reacts with first horror at the discovery of his true nature, then delight, then manipulates the vampire powers to serve her own ends before ultimately becoming more of a vampire than the boyfriend vampire ever was.  This to me seems the most rich and satisfying treatment of the issue we have seen.

With compelling visuals and a few unforgettable sequences (the final card game) “Thirst” delights for vampire scholars and casual observers alike.  Eight stars.

“Thirst” in Review | 2009 | reviews | Tags: , , | Comments (0)

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