As if the prospect of seeing Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton play vampires wasn’t delicious enough, Cinema Paradiso Events created an immersive preview experience for “Only Lovers Left Alive” on Tuesday night in New York City to escalate the film to a new level of gory goodness.
In case you haven’t heard, Jim Jarmusch’s new crypto-trancey “Only Lovers Left Alive” stars Swinton as Eve and Hiddleston as Adam, two vampires navigating the modern world. The April 1st launch of this love story began with a screening at Manhattan’s Sunshine Cinema and concluded with a live concert at Santos Party House.
Selected pieces from artist Jordan Eagles, showcasing his multidimensional art, crafted using blood, copper, gauze, and resin, were projected on the walls of both venues. From the foyer and theater screens at Sunshine to the halls, walls and even moving bodies at Santos, the translucent art transformed the space.
Upon arriving at Santos, staffers dressed in scrubs, masks and sunglasses (one of Hiddleston’s most comical ensembles in the film) ushered in guests sporting the requisite sunglasses and leather jackets with enticing tastes of free blood. I was momentarily convinced that it was real.
The warm cinnamon cider-like beverage took the immersion experience to another level, as guests carried the vampire victuals through recreated rooms from the set of the film. Adam’s Detroit-based studio was reassembled complete with some of his much-loved instruments, and Eve’s Tangier-based book-filled boudoir.
Under a disco-ball in an upper room that faded Eagles’ blood red light to an electric blue, four performances showcased the film’s eclectic and trance-vibe music. Jozef Van Wissem played a series of harmonic and hushing with his custom-built lute before being joined by Zola Jesus, an acclaimed vocalist with hypnotically powerful vibrato.
Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan originally performed with Soapkills, one of the first independent electronic bands of the Middle East. Mystically haunting, her performance encapsulated the film and soundtrack as a whole, especially in recalling the Tangier sequences (about a third of the feature took place here).
White Hills also performed a representative series of songs, projecting other worldly medleys of harsh, direct, and transportive music. If bleeps could respond like gongs, it’d sound a bit like them. Their sequence in the film shows Swinton and Hiddleston out at a venue (a once in a 100 years sort of thing for Adam) absorbing some of the scene.
Finally, Jim Jarmusch’s own band SQURL closed out the evening with echoey psychedelic rock. The soundtrack album is available from ATP Recordings.