Popular culture has a habit of returning to ‘classic’ literature again and again. Whether that’s to place the characters and plot within a different timeline or re-examine the contents from another angle or perspective. This is often done through satire. Cinema is no exception. Audiences love to watch much-loved characters placed in unfamiliar situations. In Blutsaugar (Bloodsuckers), German director Julian Radlmaier takes things a step further.
The year is 1928. The location is an opulent estate on the Baltic coast. Octavia Flambow-Jansen (Lilith Stangenberg) is the daughter of a rich industrialist and is holidaying along with her personal assistant-cum servant-Jakob (Alexander Herbst), who is infatuated with her. The arrival of the mysterious Baron Koberski (Aleksandre Koberidze), who is actually the actor Lyovoshka fleeing from Russia, livens up her vacation. As do the workers who keep turning up dead with punch marks in their necks.
Bloodsuckers plays with Marx’s words in his book Capital about capitalism sucking the proletariat dry and reimagines them in the literal sense. For a vampire seems to be on the loose. Draining the blood of the poor for his own profit. The plot for Radlmaier’s new film is novel, to say the least, and whilst it can be a tad convoluted at times Bloodsuckers is a remarkably intelligent and innovative film. An offbeat oddity which puts its ideas across with a lot of bite.
Bloodsuckers screens at IFFR.