Ruby Loves Films: Only Lovers Left Alive


Back from her exciting trip to Japan, Sophie has let us in on her favourite film from this year's NZIFF, Only Lovers Left Alive...

Only Lovers Left Alive is not your average vampire flick; there is little bloodsucking and human hunting, and unexpectedly more art, music and nature appreciation. Set between the starkness of Detroit and Tangier and appropriately all shot at night, Jim Jarmusch’s new film is beautifully dark and moody yet punctuated with dry, deadpan comedy.

In a world inhabited by Zombies (humans) bohemian vampires Adam and Eve have been married for centuries. While Eve (Tilda Swinton) lives in Tangier, spending her days devouring books in a multitude of languages, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) spends his days boarded up in his decrepit Detroit apartment with only rare music equipment to keep him company. Depressed and reclusive, he is disillusioned by how and why humans have destroyed the beauty of the world so he sends his one link to the outside, helpful human Ian, on a mission to find him a wooden bullet. When his wife Eve (Tilda Swinton) discovers his suicidal tendencies she takes the lengthy trip from Tangier to Detroit to show him the beauty there is left to live for.

Only Lovers Left Alive

Although there is not much action throughout the film, that’s part of the beauty of it. It’s slow paced and otherworldly, focusing on bewitchingly beautiful details that perhaps as ‘zombies’ we tend to overlook. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are the perfect vampire couple; effortlessly cool and hyper sophisticated. They no longer bite humans, as it seems our blood has been contaminated due to our unhealthy lifestyle, so they rely on a ‘connection’ at the local blood bank. Lovers for centuries, the duo have rubbed shoulders with some of history’s greatest artists including Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley and Shakespeare’s rival Marlowe, who happens to be a vampire as well and still bitter about Shakespeare stealing his glory.

I can’t stop thinking about this film and am looking forward to seeing it again when it (hopefully) hits our cinemas. I loved how it is visually mesmerising and whimsical and sheds new light to some of life’s simplest scenarios. This isn’t a film everyone will enjoy, but if you appreciate Jarmusch’s quirky style and are up for a twist on the vampire genre then Only Lovers Left Alive is definitely worth a look.

Only Lovers Left Alive is set to hit New Zealand cinemas on Thursday 26th December.

Sophie Donovan Visits Japan

Our favourite RUBY film reviewer Sophie Donovan recently holidayed in Japan. Check out her photo diary from her amazing trip....


Getting all ‘Lost in Translation’ at the New York Bar in Shinjuku. The live jazz band and spectacular views of the city at night was a highlight.


June is the rainy season in Japan and everyone is armed with an umbrella at all times. Negotiating your way through a busy intersection with umbrellas flying at you from all angles takes skill.

Fish Markets

The Tsukiji fish markets, everything you can possibly want on the seafood front. If you get there at 5am you can watch the tuna auction in action.

Local Cuisine

Enjoying some of the local cuisine, as you’d expect the food is seriously amazing.


One of the many kooky outfits seen in Tokyo, check out those shoes!


The view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku, so much grey!


Exploring Kyoto’s Shosei-en gardens, one of the many pockets of old Japan amongst Kyoto’s busy city.


Underneath a shrine gate (Torii) at Nara, you see these at the entrance or within a Shinto shrine throughout Japan.


Geisha spotting in Kyoto’s Gion district, they are hard to come by and slippery when it comes to snapping them on camera.


The picturesque Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, it was extra beautiful in the rain.


One of Japan’s most spectacular sights, The Golden Pavilion.


The beautiful Miyajima is a short boat ride from Hiroshima, the perfect day trip on a sunny day.


The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima. It was originally the Hiroshima Trade Promotion Hall and was only 150m away from the blast hypocentre. All the other surrounding buildings were completely demolished in the blast.


The little beach town of Kamakura is a fun day trip from Tokyo. You can bike around the coast and spot Mt Fuji on a sunny day in the distance.


On a walk through one of Nikko’s amazing hiking trails with waterfalls, beautiful brooks and idyllic lakes.

Images by Simon Barnett

Ruby Loves Films: Nz International Film Festival

The New Zealand International Film Festival starts its nationwide tour tomorrow in Auckland. For Sophie's film review this month we got her to put together her top five MUST SEES at the NZIFF....

One of my annual winter highlights is the New Zealand International Film Festival, bringing together some of the world’s most exciting new (and old) films. This year’s line up does not disappoint with some international big hitters as well as some interesting documentaries, oldies and animations. There is also an array of interesting local flicks including Romeo & Juliet: A Love Song starring local models/actors Derya Parlak and Chris Landon, as well as an interesting documentary on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s making of Giselle. Here is my list of must-sees this film festival, it was hard to limit it to just five but here goes!

  1. The Bling Ring

    One of the most highly anticipated films coming to the NIZFF and top of my must-see list is Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. Starring Emma Watson, the story follows a gang of high schoolers who steal more than $3 million dollars worth of stuff from celebrities’ homes. Coppola has never been one to shy away from controversial stories and The Bling Ring is no exception. Based on real events these fame-obsessed teenagers robbed the homes of Paris Hilton (who apparently makes a cameo), Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, Orlando Bloom and more. For an insight into celebrity worship through the impeccable eye of Sofia Coppola look no further.


  2. Only Lovers Left Alive

    Only Lovers Left Alive is not your average vampire film, and you wouldn’t expect it to be when cult director Jim Jarmusch is involved. The film uses vampirism to draw light on our current state of life, as vamps Tom Hiddleson and Tilda Swinton (who could have cast two more perfect bloodsuckers?) bemoan the state of the world since it has fallen to “zombies,” their name for humans. Set almost entirely in the dead of night and against the stark backdrops of Detroit and Tangier, the film has been hailed as deadpan funny, poetic and romantic. If you enjoy Jarmusch’s beautiful and unique films this should be top of your list.


  3. Ginger & Rosa

    Coming of age drama Ginger & Rosa gives us an intimate slice of ‘60s London; the politics, the looming threat of nuclear destruction and the sexual revolution. Ginger and Rosa have been friends forever, but now they are on the brink of adulthood they both begin protesting in their own ways. Elle Fanning plays Ginger in a performance that is being hailed as nothing short of phenomenal. If that’s not convincing enough the rest of the stellar cast including Annette Bening and Christina Hendricks are sure to impress.


  4. Ernest & Célestine

    I don’t know if you remember the beautiful books Ernest & Célestine from your childhood, but when I saw the film in the guide I was instantly taken back to the beautiful watercolour illustrations and cute adventures of this unlikely duo. Based on the stories and stunning watercolour illustrations of the late author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent, the film brings together the grumpy bohemian bear Ernest and the bold little mouse Celestine. In French with English subtitles, this film has received rave reviews so if you, like myself have a penchant for animation, or perhaps a hint of nostalgia, this is a must see.


  5. Stories We Tell

    I always enjoy catching a documentary each NZFF and my pick this year is the highly praised Stories We Tell. Acclaimed actress and director Sarah Polley tells the story of her mother, her family, and in part herself, in her latest endeavour. She explores the life of her mother, the sometimes Canadian performer and TV personality Dianne Polley, who died of cancer when Sarah was just 11. Told through the eyes of a series of accomplished storytellers (her extended family) and intercut with archive footage and faux home movies, this documentary has a tender and intimate tale to tell.