Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary

2003

Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary (2003)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Guy Maddin's film is a richly sensuous and dreamy interpretation of Dracula that reinvigorates the genre.

AUDIENCE SCORE


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Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary Photos

Movie Info

A cinematic transposition of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Interpretation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire yarn from stage to screen.

Cast

Critic Reviews for Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (23)

Though it sounds like an offbeat idea even for horror fans, the tech work is so well done that it could disarm unwary buffs attracted by the campy title.

Sep 26, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

By the end, you'll wonder why all films aren't made this way.

Feb 11, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Just when you think that holly stakes, garlic, crucifixes and capes are all there is to vampire stories, Maddin and the Royal Winnipeg put Dracula back on his toes.

May 7, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

A dance version that gorgeously captures the Royal Winnepeg Ballet's artistry while razzing the xenophobia and carnal hysteria underpinning Bram Stoker's story.

Jan 29, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

A diversion that only makes you wish you could have seen Royal Winnipeg's original ballet.

Oct 9, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

Amusing as it is strange, Maddin's movie lingers in consciousness as a one-of-a-kind affair that emanates from a truly creative consciousness.

Aug 22, 2003 | Rating: B

Audience Reviews for Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary

Guy Maddin directed this extraodinary interpretation of Bram Stoker's Dracula by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Several episodes of the original story are narrated lineally with dance and the help of intertitles. Consider this is a 73 minute adaptation of a very, very long and complex book. Do not be very demanding in what faithfulness to the source is concerned. The ballet is set to the 1st and 2nd Symphonies by Gustav Mahler. Maddin's Dracula is ethereal, evocative, suggestive, sensual, humorous, and beautiful. Now that vampires are so fashionable and that countless interpretations, re-imaginings, derivatives of the famous story have been done and seen, this particular adaptation stands out. It stays, of course, on the classical side of the spectrum, boasting beautiful sets and costumes and staying true to a certain sobriety that ran through the original story. However, any pretension of gravity is pretty much overshadowed by Maddin's liberal use of color, black and white, iris transitions, distortion, light, and shadow. "Dracula" is eye-catching to say the least, and that also speaks for the attractive of the dancers' performance. How one can stay focused on them is marvelous, especially with how meticulous ballet often is, considering all the visual distractions. I don't know if all the actors were dancers, even those who did not do much dancing, but I can say their performances were perfectly dramatic and haunting. Watching Dracula unaware of its technical specifications, one could be misled into thinking this film was made in the 1920s: it uses techniques typical of that era. It's expressionistic and self-aware and knowingly elegant. But it is distinctly free-spirited in that it revels in its own ambiguity; this, I suppose, comes free with the vampire package. To work suggestion and ambiguity in a vampire film is to do it right. Vampyrism is, by itself, loaded with symbolism and darkness. Guy Maddin honors this tradition, while adding some personal touches... The film begins with Lucy Westenra's nightmare about immigrants. Come on, it's funny. Maddin underlines the xenophobia in Bram Stoker's book. Yet this is not a satire; he's simply poiting out something. Another addition is one very protagonic role played by money. Perhaps he is suggesting greed is no different than vampyrism. Finally, the casting choices were excellent. Lucy was just adequately wicked and looked like a complete bitch throughout; as it turns out, that's about right. I don't believe there was a single miscast. Zhang Weiqiang as Dracula was spot-on. In such a peculiar film, in which so many things fight for the spotlight -be it artistic direction, music, cinematography- Dracula had to be a highlight, and what better way than by casting an Asian dancer? Not only that, but he is great. His Dracula is not caricaturesque or over-the-top, it's a perfectly elegant, vicious, lustful young man. With fangs. A scene-stealer. What I liked best about this film is that it didn't intend to over-emphasize the sexual undertones. In fact, by using such a delicate technique as ballet, these aspects are highlighted in the classiest and most elevated way. Pages from a Virgin's Diary may, therefore, not be for everyone. But it's an undeniably ambitious and original project and an artistic achievement. And now I can't wait to see what else Guy Maddin can do...

Elvira B
Elvira B

Super Reviewer

½

Interesting take on Dracula. It's very artsy. I liked the overall mood of the film was very nice.

Marion Ravenwood
Marion Ravenwood

Super Reviewer

Oh Guy Guy Guy. Sometimes I just don't get you. My head was pounding for days afterwards. Ever want to tell something in a straight forward manner?

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

½

An inventive treat, Pages... is the classic novel presented as a silent movie ballet. It is acted entirely with ballet performers and filmed using techniques employed usually in silent films. This combination of factors gives the film a rather unique feel, a merging of classic formula with postmodern styling. This time Dracula is played by an Asian actor, giving him a new feel entirely, perhaps playing to sense of racism in Stoker's book and when put in tandem with his hypnotic dancing, affords the piece a deeply dark sense of eroticism. The only colour in the piece comes from the intertitles and occaisonal flashes that pierce the monochrome, such as red blood, and Dracula spilling gold coins from a wound. Not recommended for everyone, obviously, but worth it for anyone looking for a new spin on the dark sexual fable.

Antony Stubbs
Antony Stubbs

Super Reviewer

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