(1994) director Michael Almereyda
Shot in black-and-white, using a cast straight out of a Hal Hartley film, and produced in part (and briefly featuring) David Lynch, Nadja is a somewhat post-modernist take on Dracula. Actually, Nadja is Dracula’s daughter.
She arrives in New York with her Renfield, a long-haired handsome Irishman to collect her father’s body. A long-haired Peter Fonda is the Van Helsing in this picture. And the Lucy for this vampire is played by a woman called Galaxy Craze who looks vaguely like Molly Ringwald. This Dracula/Lucy thing is a lesbian affair. Oh and Najda herself is the remarkably beautiful Elina Löwensohn, who appeared in Hal Hartley’s Amateur (1994). She goes around in a remarkably gothy cowl, looking sad a lot.
The film attempts moments of humor, but also attempts a deadpan style not unlike that of Jim Jarmusch or David Lynch. Only this whole film feels like a bad film student’s final project, only featuring some famous faces in the stilted settings, wonky acting, and moodiness.
The film occasionally flips over from nice-looking black-and-white photography to a pixilated black-and-white. I did try to figure out the significance of this mode, but gave up.
I had stumbled upon Nadja somewhere and had it queued up in my Halloween set of films. It is in some ways a product of its time, an indie film from the mid-1990’s, with good indie movie cred. Unfortunately, it’s not really very compelling, funny, or for that matter, memorable. I will say that there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes than gazing on the lovely Elina Löwensohn, no matter what mood she’s in.