Michael Almereyda


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6.5 Twister (1989)
6.5 Another Girl Another Planet (1992)
7.0 Nadja (1994)
6.5 Trance (1998)
6.7 Hamlet (2000)
6.0 Happy Here and Now (2002)
5.8 New Orleans Mon Amour (2008)
6.0 Cymbeline (2014)
7.0 Experimenter (2015)
7.0 Marjorie Prime (2017)
7.0 Tesla (2020)
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Michael Almereyda (USA, 1960) debuted with the farcical Twister (1989), shot on 35 mm and based on Mary Robison's novel "Oh", and Another Girl Another Planet (1992), shot in black-and-white and entirely set in an apartment building.

Nadja (1994) is a black and white, offbeat satire of vampyr movies, that draws from Murnau and Dreyer for its expressionistic setting and acting.

Nadja, always cloaked in black and moving with the agility of a mummy, is the daughter of count Dracula, who has been killed by an aging and lunatic vampire-killer, Van Helsing. Van is arrested for the murder and his nephew Jim, a boxer married to the loving Lucy, has to pay bail. Nadja lives in a Manhattan apartment with her bodyguard Renfield. They visit the morgue and steal the body, that Nadja, tired of that bloody life, intends to burn. Nadja is thrilled (as excited as a vampire can be) of being finally free. She goes out to enjoy life as a normal human being and meets Jim's wife Lucy in a bar. Lucy had a terrible childhood and falls under the spell of the existentialist Nadja. Nadja visits Lucy in her apartment and seduces her. The insecure housewife gives herself to the pleasure of Nadja's strong and cold personality. Jim finds her in pain, bleeding, and a little later Van comes to visit them. Van has learned that the body has disappeared and knows that Dracula had two children. He is now on a mission to kill them before they can strike. In the meantime, Nadja visits Cassandra, her twin brother's nurse, bringing with her the ashes of her father Dracula. Cassandra has been taking care of Edgar, who has been in a coma for a long time. Nadja heals and awakes Edgar, while Van figures out that Lucy has falled under the spell of Dracula. Edgar speaks to Nadja (in Romanian) words of hate, but Nadja pretends with Cassandra that Edgar is feeling better and just wants to leave. Following Lucy, the vampire-killer and Jim find Cassandra, who turns out to be Jim's sister, and they see Lucy making love with Nadja. Both Lucy and Cassandra are devastated by nightmares and run from Jim, haunted by Nadja.
Edgar visits Van and offers help. He knows that his sister is dangerous: she has inherited Dracula's evil persona. The final confrontation occurs in Transylvania, where Nadja has moved with Cassandra. Van explains to Jim that the only way to save Cassandra and Lucy is to destroy Nadja. With Edgar's help, they succeed in planting a stake into Nadja's heart and liberating Cassandra and Lucy. Cassandra marries Edgar.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Emanuele Carrafa)

Nadja (1994) è una satira in bianco e nero, fuori luogo, dei film sui vampiri, che attinge da Murnau e Dreyer per la scena e l'azione.

Nadja, che è sempre vestita di nero e si muove con l'agilità di una mummia, è la figlia del conte Dracula, che è stato ucciso da un ammazza-vampiri attempato e pazzo, Van Helsing. Van viene arrestato per questo omicidio e suo nipote Jim, un pugile sposato con la dolce Lucy, deve pagare la cauzione. Nadja vive in un appartamento di Manhattan con la sua guardia del corpo Renfield. Entrambi fanno visita al feretro e rubano la salma, che Nadja, stanca di questa vita sanguinosa, intende bruciare. Nadja è elettrizzata (eccitata come può esserlo un vampiro) di essere finalmente libera. Esce per godersi la vita come un comune essere umano ed incontra Lucy, la moglie di Jim, in un bar. Lucy ha avuto un'infanzia terribile e si lascia prendere dalla conversazione dell'esistenzialista Nadja. Nadja fa visita a Lucy nel suo appartamento e la seduce. L'insicura casalinga si concede al piacere della forte e fredda personalità di Nadja. Jim la trova dolorante, sanguinante, e dopo un po' Van viene a far loro visita. Van sa che il corpo del vampiro è scomparso e sa che Dracula ha due figli. Adesso ha il compito di ucciderli prima che questi riescano a colpire. Nel frattempo, Nadja va da Cassandra, l'infermiera del suo fratello gemello, e porta con se le ceneri di suo padre Dracula. Cassandra si sta prendendo cura di Edgar, che è stato in coma per molto tempo. Nadja cura Edgar e riesce a svegliarlo dal coma, mentre Van si rende conto che Lucy è caduta sotto il controllo di Dracula. Edgar parla a Nadja (in rumeno) con astio, ma Nadja fa finta con Cassandra che Edgar si senta meglio e decide subito di andarsene. Seguendo Lucy, l'ammazza-vampiri e Jim trovano Cassandra, che si scopre esssere la sorella di Jim, e scorgono Lucy che fa l'amore con Nadja. Sia Lucy che Cassandra sono assalite da incubi e corrono da Jim, catturato da Nadja. Edgar fa visita a Van e si offre di aiutarlo. Edgar sa che sua sorella è pericolosa: ha ereditato la personalità malvagia di Dracula. Lo scontro finale avviene in Transilvania, dove Nadja è fuggita con Cassandra. Van spiega a Jim che l'unico modo per salvare Cassandra e Lucy è di distruggere Nadja. Con l'aiuto di Edgar, riescono a conficcare un paletto nel cuore di Nadja e a liberare Cassandra e Lucy. Cassandra sposa Edgar.

Trance/ The Eternal (1998) is a horror movie.

After his Hamlet (2000), an adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy transposed in contemporary New York, he directed two tributes to New Orleans: Happy Here and Now (2002) and New Orleans Mon Amour (2008).

After the adaptation of Shakespeare's Cymbeline (2014), came the biopic Experimenter (2015).

The sci-fi movie Marjorie Prime (2017) is an adaptation of Jordan Harrison's 2014 play.

An old woman, Marjorie, who is losing her memory, is chatting with a much younger man, Walter. The conversation seems insignificant until she mentions that he proposed to her, as if they are husband and wife. We then notice that the man seems to speak in an unnatural way. He reminds her of when they had their daughter Tess. He seems to help her recover memories that she lost. We see her walk through him as if he were just a figment of her imagination. We then meet Tess and her husband Jon. They discuss Marjorie and her worsening condition. We learn that Walter is generated by a computer program and that it trains itself all the time to imitate the real Walter, long dead, by listening to what people say. Indirectly, Walter has become Marjorie's memory. Walter is generated in his 40s because that's how Marjorie chose him to be. Tess refuses to talk to this creepy version of her father. We see Jon coaching Walter, i.e. giving "it" more information about the family. Jon is eager to learn so as to improve itself. Julie is Marjorie's live-in caretaker. The film fast-forwards to a day when Marjorie wakes up after being hospitalized for a fall. She doesn't remember any of it. Later she chats with Walter and remarks that she is not getting any better while Walter is getting better every day. This reconstruction of Walter even knows her lovers, in particular the one that she was very fond of, JeanPaul. One day Marjorie asks about Damian. Later Jon tells Walter that Marjorie and Walter had a son named Damian who, 50 years earlier, killed himself and killed his dog Toni; but this story must never be mentioned to Tess. We see pictures of Marjorie over the years as if someone was going through them nostalgically. Then we see Tess chatting with Marjorie and we realize that Marjorie died and this is her replacement, who is being trained by a depressed Tess. Tess tells "it" that she is the only child of Marjorie. Therefore this version of Marjorie will not know that the real Marjorie had a son, Damian. She also tells her/it that her own daughter Raina doesn't talk to her anymore. Tess interrogates Marjorie who admits that her goal is to become more and more like the real Marjorie, to become more and more human. Tess and Jon sort out the things left behind by Marjorie and find the letters of her devoted lover JeanPaul. Tess chose her Marjorie replacement to be the age when she died. Tess admits that she hated Damian, her mother's favorite child. Suddenly we see Jon distressed. Then we see Jon chatting with Tess and we realize that he is training "it": Tess has died and this is her replacement. Jon informs this replacement that Tess hanged herself while they were on vacation in Madagascar. The replacement tells Jon that he wants to help him heal emotionally but first Jon has to train "it" properly. Tess' granddaughter, a girl adopted by Raina, and also named Marjorie, comes to visit because she never had a chance to meet her granma when she was alive. Then suddenly we see a very old Jon and a young woman next to him, presumably his granddaughter Marjorie. And we see three people chatting in Jon's house while outside it's snowing: Walter in his 40s, Marjorie in her old age and Tess the way she was when she died: Tess and her parents. They are the replacements, sharing the memories that they acquired during their respective training. Sometimes the memories match, sometimes they don't, and then they learn the missing memories from each other. The film ends leaving us the doubt whether these computer-generated replacements have become conscious and have free will. For a fleeting moment we see

Tesla (2020) is another biopic.

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