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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lose yourself in the sensuous dreamworld of Nadja, 5 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Nadja [VHS] [1996] (VHS Tape)
Lose yourself in the absorbing dreamworld of Nadja as you follow the convoluted plot through it's eerie and sensous twists and turns. Nadja, a beautiful vampire is lonely and desperate for peace, but will she ever find it? And will her brother Edgar free himself from his evil inheritance? You'll be glued to the screen throughout this gothic tale by the enthralling imagery and the sheer quality of the scenes shot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, odd film, 14 Mar 2007
First off, don't be misled by any use of David Lynch's name here - he had nothing to do with the making of this movie. Nevertheless, the film is excellent, with some great performances, particularly by Elina Lowensohn as the title character, and Peter Fonda as a mad Van Helsing. This is one of those movies that is actually much more simple and straightforward than it appears to be. Like many arty horror flicks, much of it is smoke and mirrors, that enhances what is, at bottom, a fairly traditional plot. The soundtrack is also fantastic, with sensible use of Portishead, and also featuring the Verve and Spacehog. Overall, it's sexy, funny, not really scary, but beautifully stylish and well worth watching.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The pain of fleeting joy, 11 Jan 2009
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nadja [1996] [DVD] (DVD)
Most vampire movies are all about blood, evil, mayhem, and big jutting fangs that could never actually fit in their mouths.

Fortunately "Nadja" never falls into the usual vampire cliches. Instead it focuses on blood, fuzz and the dark snowy streets of Manhatten, and the vampires that wander through it after Dracula's death. Though it occasionally stumbles on pretension, Michael Almereyda's direction and Elina Löwensohn's ethereal Nadja turn this into a quiet gem.

Dracula is dead. His daughter Nadja (Löwensohn) senses it immediately, and pledges to "start over," although Renfield (Karl Geary) is skeptical. As she wanders through New York, Jim (Martin Donovan) springs his eccentric uncle Van Helsing (Peter Fonda) from jail and gets a pep talk on Dracula and his past. But they don't know that Jim's unhappy wife Lucy (Galaxy Craze) is meeting the beguiling Nadja at a club, and the two of them end up having a brief lesbian tryst.

But that encounter with Nadja is slowly transforming Lucy into another zombielike slave, even as the lovely vampire heads to Brooklyn to meet her dying twin brother Edgar (Jared Harris). But when Van Helsing and Jim try to try to stop Nadja, her vampiric nature is fully reawakened -- and now Van Helsing, Jim and Edgar must stop her before

Technically "Nadja" is a remake of an old sequel to "Dracula," and a few parts of the newer movie show its origins. But other than that, it's pretty much a unique piece of work -- and while the art-house approach gets a little pretentious (that ridiculous story about butter) its haunting beauty is undeniable.

Michael Almereyda takes an uber-realistic approach for this movie -- it's filmed in crisp black-and-white, with lots of stark lighting, shadowed apartments, and the occasional blurry blood/sex scene. The dialogue varies between plain and poetic ("I was born by the Black Sea, under the shadow of the Carpathian mountains..."), and has the occasional haunting monologue about Draculean offspring and "the pain of fleeting joy."

Much of the plot involves the various characters rambling through New York, only to suddenly transform a full-fledged vampire film after Nadja's visit to her brother. As her vampiric nature starts taking over, the movie speeds up into a nightmarish showdown in an overgrown Transylvanian manor. And while the twist ending is a bit of a headscratcher, it's a suitably unconventional ending for an atypical vampire movie.

For such a movie, you need a truly brilliant Nadja. And Elina Löwensohn is perfect -- exotically beautiful, dignified, and capable of both innocence and malevolence. She adds a dreamlike flavour to many otherwise prosaic scenes, whether she's wandering through the snow or reclaiming Dracula's body ("We have come for the body of Count Voivoida Armenios Ceausescu Dracula. I believe there is a wooden stake in the heart").

The other actors do solid jobs with all their roles -- Peter Fonda is quite good as a mildly crazy, long-haired Van Helsing who drives his relatives crazy with his vampire obsession. Donovan, Craze and Harris do serviceable jobs with their roles. Karl Geary is a real standout as the sexy, moderately predatory Renfield, who is kind only to Nadja.

"Nadja" is a vampire tale with an arty modern twist and a brilliant lead actress. Sometimes it gets a bit pretentious, but its beauty can't be denied.
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Nadja [DVD] [1996] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Nadja [DVD] [1996] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Michael Almereyda (DVD - 2002)
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