Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person
The MAMI Film Festival has entered its final leg and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself in enjoying the process of waking up early to book a show to hustling and bustling before the show, and later penning a review for it. I am actually wondering on whether I would undergo an existential crisis from Monday when things will return to normalcy. But before that, I have a lot of work to do with the final set of releases on the final weekend of MAMI. So brace yourselves, and let’s go! With that, I finished watching the new French film Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person(Phew) at MAMI last night. And as strange and innovative as the name sounds, I was hoping for a similar kind of a wacky ride to begin my weekend. I had heard of the name of the film only after Anurag Kashyap had recommended it on Letterboxd, and since then I had my eyes on the film. Finally, I got a chance to watch Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person(gasps for breath), does it manage to impress, let’s find out.
Story & Screenplay
Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suidical Person follows the story of a young vampire who is too sensitive to kill given her compassion for humans. As her family coaxes her to relish her first kill, she meets a guy with suicidal tendencies who volunteers to be killed. What happens next? The story here is a heady concoction of horror, comedy and romance packaged as a fascinating drama of the highest order. And the best way to approach this drama is to go into it completely blind, and surrender to the vision of the makers. The screenplay standing at just 92 minutes is taut while never straying away from its subject matter. As a result, the writing is extremely balanced with the correct ingredients of horror and comedy that makes for an enjoyable watch.
The drama opens with a birthday party of a young girl with all her immediate family members around her. The party is interrupted by a clown who is supposedly called in to entertain the family. In this moment, you can sense that something is amiss while witnessing some punchy one-liners that tickle your funny bone. But in a weirdly funny turn of events, the clown was brought in to celebrate the young vampire’s birthday with her first kill. Yet, the twist in the tale was her new found compassion that prevented her from taking the plunge while being witness to the clown being mercilessly chomped off by her family members. This opening sequence was hilarious and set the tone perfectly for the rest of the drama to follow.
The proceedings are engaging and engrossing particularly after the time leap when the young 68 year old vampire is acquainted with a timid guy who wishes to die. She hasn’t overcome her compassion yet that prevents her from killing. This until the guy volunteers while there is a spark of love within her. The events are hilarious and I often found myself laughing and clapping in sync with the packed house. And I did like how tonally consistent the drama was while seamlessly managing the genre balance right throughout the narrative. The well etched out characters was the perfect icing on the cake too.
The twists and turns in the screenplay are fun to witness while they have been written with a deft shock factor and dollops of comedy. The drama takes a slightly more serious turn with budding romance between the two leads which culminates into a fitting finale act that did perfect justice to the title of the film. Overall, the screenplay is expertly written and makes for a stupendous watch.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational with hints of witty humour arising out of some punchy one-liners that makes for a solid impact. The BGM is subtly haunting and heightens the drama at several places. The cinematography with its lighting is just perfect, and it perfectly encapsulates the vibe of the drama. The editing is sharp and crisp wherein you get the feeling that the film never overstays its welcome. The costumes are on point as well. Director Ariana Louis-Seize does an incredible job in maintaining the tone of the drama throughout. She craftily creates moments of intrigue while balancing the palate with bouts of comedy in what was one of the finest direction pieces of the MAMI Film Festival.
The performances are emaculate by the ensemble cast. Gabrielle-Antoine Roy as JP is hilarious and I wish to watch a spin off film on his character. Noemie O’Farrell as Denise is wonderful to watch. Arnaud Vachon as Henri is outstanding despite a limited screen time. Felix-Antoine Benard as Paul is wonderfully understated with subtle bouts of humour to accompany his performance. He is affable and does a fine job here. Sara Montpetit as Sasha is simply brilliant while her poker face oscillates between being intimidating to downright funny. She has a terrific screen presence as well which she puts to great use in an act which was towering in many ways.
As a part of our MAMI coverage, Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person is a heady concoction of horror, comedy and romance that formulates for a brilliant vampire drama.