Sex, cruelty and tragedy: Twilight, too light vampires?

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Sex, cruelty and tragedy: Twilight, too light vampires?
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The saga returns to W9.

Ready for a rewatch of Twilight ? The five films released between 2009 and 2012 at the cinema return on Monday evening on television.

Twilight is part of a genre that has been revisited many times, but has little or no respect for the rules, and in particular in the symbolism of romantic relationships. As summarized neil gaimanauthor of Coraline and great lover of fantasy: “Vampirism is a good way to talk about sex without talking about sex”. Comparison with some vampiric classics.

For Robert Pattinson, Twilight is ultimately a very bizarre story

A reassuring story

In Draculathe vampiric figure is represented in its traditional form: seducer, murderer, having several concubines, the character is exactly what Edward refuses to be, on all levels. “The vampire, once the embodiment of evil, is here a nice, well-behaved[…] Twilight is a reassuring story” wrote the sociologist Michel Fized in his tribune at the Figaro Why Twilight appeals to young people. Logic, in the saga the symbolism of the vampire who does not control his thirst heavily refers to the boy who does not control himself and wants to sleep right away. The only point in common with Dracula is their hard-to-live immortality: the character of Gary Oldman, like Edward before he met Bella, is consumed by loneliness and seeks a companion for eternity. Their desire for death comes from there (Edward who “envy” Romeo’s suicide, Dracula who finds peace in his final death).

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The tragedy evacuated

It’s there that Twilight sidesteps the classic issues of the genre. Here it is Bella who wants to be transformed at the end of the first film. A kind of extremely practical consenting prey which immediately zaps the usual pessimism of this type of story. If the basis of Twilight can recall that of Walrus, their paths separate very quickly. The movie of Tomas Alfredson explores to the end the tragic and illusory aspect of a love relationship between immortal and human. If the vampire Eli has a protector that we guess has been attached to her for decades, she has kept her appearance as a little girl while the other is now an old man. The end of the film confirms that only repeating this cycle, renewing his protectors again and again, can suit Eli. An idea quickly dispatched in Temptation into a short nightmare sequence that makes Bella realize that it’s definitely time to get busy so as not to grow old and stay with Edward forever.

Tomas Alfredson: “Morse is devoid of feelings which paradoxically creates emotions”

A condition accepted

The arguments hammered out by Louis (brad pitt) throughoutInterview with a Vampire are also brushed aside: yes Bella realizes that she is going to be separated from her close friends and relatives who will inevitably die before her, no that doesn’t bother her. The hero of the movie Neil Jordan could give the illusion of being quite close to the one played by Pattinson, but again in Twilight we defuse: Louis considers himself a monster, hates having to kill and sees his condition as a curse. Edward, he lives rather serenely with his adopted family where everyone feeds on animal blood and only expresses some reservations when he wants to discourage Bella from becoming like him. Being deprived of human blood is presented as a hard habit to form, a bit like quitting coffee, nothing more. We are light years away from the characters ofAnne Rice, especially since Bella, once a vampire, declares herself satisfied with her new situation – a shame. In Interview with a Vampirethe only one that comes close to this position is the character of the journalist (Christian Slater), whom the film presents as an unconscious who has understood nothing, unlike Bella, whom the narration proves right since she acts out of love.

Interview with a Vampire: the series adaptation has lead in the wing

(Too) tame vampires

Whether vampires were “nice” (Louis and to a lesser extent Eli) or evil (Dracula), they never escaped their nature. Twilight achieves the feat of having tamed them. As we say Jean Jacques Beneix in an interview with Agnès Giard, “It’s sweetener times and vampires are no exception. […] We filed the teeth of our vampires as we filed those of our fantasies, no doubt by dint of curbing our instincts.. Of course, frustration is never far away: “More than the vampire, it is the idea of ​​coupling that is repressed. But since we cannot silence deep nature, we therefore dream of being diminished but bubbling with desire”. This analogy with sex is evident in Edward’s condition for turning his girlfriend into a vampire (and sleeping with her): marriage. Basically, only abstinence is considered a “cure”. A vision whose sociologist Divina Frau-Meigs deplores the collateral damage: “There is a very conservative reading of these depoliticized issues: the saga is anti-abortion, pro-life, pro-marriage, advocates purity and abstinence… Total! ». Because if the heroes of Twilight are far from libertine vampires, for the sociologist, Twilight vehicle “a regression of the achievements of 60’s feminism, under cover of a sexualization and a reappropriation of the body”.Without going into the value judgment – Meyer being Mormon, this conservatism is not surprising -, we can recognize that if Twilight invented nothing, the work was able to accurately capture the new anxieties of its time. In the words of Mrs Frau-Meigs, “Twilight corresponds to a massive phenomenon in the Western world and emerging countries: the disarray faced with the change in the status of women”.Not convinced? There is a radically different theory put forward by the magazine Esquire : Vampires are successful because they match young girls’ desire to date gay men. To each their own.See the full interview with Divina Frau-Meigs here.
Yerim Sar

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