The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 7 - 14, 2000

[Boston Film Festival]

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Shadow Of The Vampire

John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Eddie Izzard, Udo Kier -- there's no shortage of vampirish talent in the cast of Shadow of the Vampire. So why is E. Elias Merhige's tale of the making of F.W. Murnau's silent horror classic Nosferatu so bloodless? Malkovich brings an uncertain accent and a hairpiece to his role as the German Expressionist filmmaker determined to create the ultimate cinema experience with his revenant epic. He casts an unknown actor, Max Schreck (Dafoe, having a campy good time), in the role of the bloodsucking Count Orlock, and the others in the cast and crew, including the producer Albin Grau (Kier) and leading man Gustav von Wangerheim (Izzard), take the stranger's talons, pointed ears, and weird nocturnal habits as part of the Stanislavsky Method. In fact, Schreck is a real vampire Murnau has hired for the part by means of a Faustian bargain involving the lovely neck of lead actress Greta Schroeder (Catherine McCormack). Despite the anarchic decadence of the period, the troubled sexuality of Murnau himself, and the loaded parallels involving vampirism, taboo lust, and the cinema, Merhige's pretensions suck this effort dry. Screens tonight at 7:30 and 10 p.m. and tomorrow at noon and 2:20 and 4:20 p.m. Director E. Elias Merhige will be present at tonight's 7:30 screening.

-- Peter Keough

Film Festival Feature Films

Shadow of the Vampire | Songcatcher | Venus Beauty Institute | What's Cooking? | The Broken Hearts Club | Envy | Goya in Bordeaux | Human Resources | Skipped Parts | Amargosa | Henry Hill | Relative Values | The Rising Place | The Contender | Pitch People | Roof to Roof | Four Dogs Playing Poker | Reckless Indifference | Requiem for a Dream | Shadow Magic | About Adam | Charming Billy | Enemies of Laughter | Into the Arms of Strangers | Running on the Sun | A Trial in Prague | Harry, He's Here to Help | A Man is Mostly Water | Seven Girlfriends

Also, Boston Film Festival short films

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