Pages from a Virgin's Diary

Starring: Zhang Wei-Qiang, Tara Birtwhistle and David Moroni
Tartan Video
RRP: 19.99
TVD 3468
Certificate: 15
Available 26 April 2004

Guy Maddin's unique collaboration with the Winnipeg National Ballet is a mix of breathtaking choreography, avant-garde film making techniques and deliciously dark humour.
With its erotically-charged atmosphere and moody gothic edge, Maddin transforms and reinterprets Bram Stoker's original tale, choreographed by Mark Godden. Presented in his characteristic "tinted" black and white style, the screen is brought to dramatic life with an array of commanding performances and the addition of lush splashes of colour...

Next to David Cronenberg, Guy Maddin is Canada's most extraordinary filmmaker and his movies are among the most unique ever brought to the screen. Here he brings us Dracula as you have never seen it performed before.

When I first saw the box for Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary I was a tad curious and also a bit weary. This did not look promising. Ok, apart from the long list of awards it has won. I was not looking forward to seeing this. I have never really been a big fan of the Dracula stories at the best of times. And the thought of seeing a ballet version didn't really spark the interest it should have. But fortunately, thanks to the fact that I have to watch these films to review them, I have found a Gem of a film.

This is fantastic. A ballet version of Dracula that manages to be sexy and quirky at the same time, and the scary thing is, is that you never would have expected it. This is a very well shot film that uses black and white and colour to its full advantages. And the quality of the DVD transfer is outstanding.

The DTS track included on this DVD is also very good, Offering good use of the surrounds whilst also having superb sound quality. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is also very good. But if you have the equipment then I advise the DTS track. It does make a difference.

The extras on the disc are also very good. There is a director's commentary as well as a few documentaries on the making of this film. There are some Radii interviews and some TV spots.

All in all this is something very special in an outstanding package. The film is of excellent quality and definitely makes for an enjoyable experience. Couple that with a first class list of extras and you have a DVD that must be owned.

Simon Lee

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