Your Guide to the 2013 Northside Festival 

Page 10 of 13

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The L Recommends

Byzantium
Directed by Neil Jordan
Marking director Jordan’s first return to the vampire underworld since 1994’s Interview with a Vampire, this movie glows with less star wattage, but it’s a livelier, more original meditation on the promise and peril of eternal life. As with Brad Pitt’s Interview character, the eternally teenaged vampire played by Saoirse Ronan wants to be heard; forbidden from seeking out an actual listener, she tells the long, gothic backstory on paper and casts the pages out of windows. The movie shows us this backstory in bits and pieces as different characters come across it, which is an ambitious structure (that only occasionally invites silly pressing questions). Byzantium has some quiet, artsy flourishes, but it’s also a pulp workout with moments of human—and neatly inhuman—feeling. (June 18, Wythe Hotel)

Maniac
Directed by Franck Khalfoun
Overwrought is too weak a word to describe this bloody and unhinged remake of William Lustig’s 1980 cult classic. It’s shot almost entirely in the first person; like 1947’s The Lady in the Lake, the hero is only glimpsed in mirrors, though we also hear his trembling mutterings or anxious dialogue. Elijah Wood stars as that title character, a schizo killer and scalper of women who freaks out, trashes rooms, screams, kills, hallucinates, has flashbacks, and suffers blinding migraines. (He looks a bit too boyish and frail to believe as a serial killer, but his wounded eyes help make this gonzo gorefest almost seem like a tragic love story.) He slices off the tops of his victims’ heads so he can gift their hair to the antique mannequins he restores and positions around his room and bed. He’s a literal objectifier of women: he destroys their humanity, robs them of their personhood, and recreates them as things. (June 19, Nitehawk)

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