Byzantium


1h 59m 2013

Brief Synopsis

When a mother and daughter arrive in a nameless British town and claim to be 200-year-old vampires, local teachers and parents counsel them to get to the bottom of their delusions. However, when people start disappearing, locals must confront the possibility that the two women are, in fact, what th

Film Details

Also Known As
Bir Vampir Hikayesi, Bizantija, Vampire Story, A
MPAA Rating
Release Date
2013
Production Company
Abbey Road Studios ; Ardmore Sound, Ltd. ; Arri Group ; British Film Institute ; Cine Electric, Ltd. ; Demarest Films ; Deutsche Filmversicherungs Gemeinschaft ; European Film Bonds ; Freud Communications ; IFC Films ; Irish Film Board ; Lee & Thompson ; Lipsync Creative ; London Voices ; Media Insurance Brokers ; Number 9 Films ; Parallel Films ; Reed Smith Llp ; Sheridans Solicitors ; Shipleys ; Team Fx ; Translux International ; Westend Films ; Windmill Lane
Distribution Company
IFC FILMS/MONGREL MEDIA/M+TROPOLE FILMS DISTRIBUTION; A Contracorriente Films ; Budapest Film ; CinTart ; Cinemania Groupicon ; Empire ; Europa Filmes ; Hollywood Entertainment (Greece) ; IFC Films ; IFC Films ; Intercom ; Kino Swiat International ; Mongrel Media ; Mongrel Media ; Métropole Films Distribution ; Métropole Films Distribution ; Phase 4 Films ; Phase 4 Films ; Shaw Organization ; Studiocanal UK ; Top Film ; Top Film Baltic
Location
Dublin, Ireland; United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 59m

Synopsis

When a mother and daughter arrive in a nameless British town and claim to be 200-year-old vampires, local teachers and parents counsel them to get to the bottom of their delusions. However, when people start disappearing, locals must confront the possibility that the two women are, in fact, what they say they are.

Crew

Leo Abrahams

Music

Tony Aherne

Assistant Director

Chris Allen

Props Handler

Mary Allguen

Production Manager

Gemma Arterton

Song Performer

Saqib Ashraf

Matchmove Artist

Mark Auguste

Supervising Sound Editor

Sam Auguste

Adr/Dialogue Editor

Rachel Aulton

Props Handler

Marshall Aver

Set Decorator

Eoin Bailey

Production

Mick Baine

Generator Operator

Janet Baker

Song Performer

Dave Bannister

Compositor

Adrian Banton

Compositor

Craig Bardsley

Animator

Bart Barendregt

Compositor

Dave Barnett

Carpenter

David Beakhurst

Driver

Brian Beaumont

Gaffer

Mike Beaven

Driver

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Song

Chris Bentley

Titles

Saul Bernie

Song

Graeme Bird

Sculptor

Gary Birmingham

Transportation Manager

Martin Birmingham

Driver

Ilona Blythe

Visual Effects Producer

Sean Bobbitt

Director Of Photography

Paul Boulton

Props

Thomas Bowes

Music

Consolata Boyle

Costume Designer

David Boyle

Camera Trainee

Emma Braney

Cgi Artist

Lorraine Brennan

Hairdresser

Naomi Britton

Props Buyer

Luke Brown

Foley Mixer

Linden Brownbill

Software Engineer

Lucy Browne

Makeup Assistant

Brendan Buckingham

Visual Effects

Ian Buckley

Grip

Moira Buffini

Source Material

Moira Buffini

Screenplay

Frank Burke

Driver

Alberto Buron

Film Lab

Andy Burrows

Visual Effects

Dermot Butler

Carpenter

Luke Butler

Compositor

Kevin Byrne

Special Effects Coordinator

Mark Byrne

Legal Affairs

Luke Cairns

Assistant Camera

Marc Calvelo

Animator

Orla Carroll

Hairdresser

Stephen Carroll

Coordinator

Paul Carter

Property Master

Ruth Carter

Development Executive

Shoky Carter

Production

Caroline Cassidy

Caterer

Sarah Caughey

Business Affairs

Simon Chamberlain

Trumpet

Simon Chamberlain

Song Performer

James Clarke

Camera

James Clarke

Camera

Paul Clarke

Props

Thomas Clarke

Animal Services

Dion Clements

Extras Casting Assistant

Ruth Coady

Production Executive

Miriam Coleman

Assistant Location Manager

John Coll

Facilities Supervisor

Yvonne Collier

Studio Teacher

Fionn Comerford

Camera Operator

Jay Condiotti

Song

Michael Connell

Music Editor

Karl Connelly

Sculptor

Willie Cooley

Transportation

John Cooling

Electric

Jim Corr

Assistant Director

Natasha Costello

Animal Trainer

Paul Cotterell

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

David Cowley

Production

Sam Cox

Cgi Artist

Brian Craine

Construction

Sally Cram

Costumes

Dan Crandon

Construction Manager

Sean Creagh

Generator Operator

Declan Crowley

Animal Trainer

Laura Crowley

Legal Services

Bill Crutcher

Art Director

Ciaran Cullen

Electrician

Noel Cullen

Gaffer

Paul Cullen

Transportation Captain

Wayne Cullen

Transportation

Neil Culley

Compositor

Niall Cullinane

Camera Trainee

Dave Curtis

Software Engineer

Brendan Deasy

Sound Department

Brendan Deasy

Sound Recordist

Jamie Deasy

Assistant Director

Shane Deasy

Assistant Camera

Claude Debussy

Song

Niall Delaney

Production Accountant

Greg Demery

Carpenter

Guliz Demiray

Animator

Kieran Dempsey

Best Boy

Jimmy Devlin

Driver

Judith Devlin

Costumes

Cathaoir Dolan

Stunt Player

Grace Donaldson

Grip

Shane Donnelly

Production

Aja Dormer

Costumes

Lyndzi Doyle

Assistant Director

Lyndzi Doyle

Stand-In

Sofie Doyle

Animal Trainer

Tony Doyle

Animal Trainer

Paul Dray

Visual Effects Producer

Derek Drew

Carpenter

Eddie Drew

Animal Wrangler

Jessica Drum

Assistant Camera

Stefan Drury

Visual Effects

Paul Ducker

Visual Effects

Chris Dudley

Driver

Catherine Dunne

Assistant Director

John Dunne

Grip

Michael Eames

Animation Director

Robin Earle

Electric

Paul Edwards

Camera Operator

Terry Edwards

Music

Karen Elliott

Music Supervisor

Simon Elliott

Production Designer

Peter Elphick

Driver

Guy Elson

Compositor

Arslan Elver

Animator

Sam Englebardt

Producer

Greg Evans

Rigging Electrician

Mervin Ewing

Facilities Supervisor

Elton Farla

Medic

Robert Farr

Sound Mixer

Gerry Farrell

Special Effects Technician

Sean Farrow

Visual Effects Supervisor

Nadia Fay

Song

John Fearon

Transportation

Stephen Fearon

Facilities Supervisor

Paul Fegan

Electrician

Andrew Felton

Boom Operator

Ritchie Ferguson

Software Engineer

Susie Figgis

Casting Director

Patrick Fisher

Facilities Supervisor

Emer Fitzpatrick

Accounting Assistant

Johnny Fortune

Facilities Supervisor

Lizzie Francke

Development Executive

Peter Freeman

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Peter Freeman

Assistant Director

Dermot Furey

Chef

Stuart Fyvie

Colorist

Niamh Gale

Assistant Production Coordinator

Glen Gathard

Foley Mixer

Ollie Geraghty

Stunt Player

Richard Gibbs

Caterer

Ian Glenister

Rigging Gaffer

Lorraine Glynn

Hairdresser

Ben Good

Animal Trainer

Ben Good

Animal Trainer

Martin Goulding

Art Director

Scott Goulding

On-Line Editor

Philip Graef

Driver

Rosie Grant

Assistant Costume Designer

Lucie Graves

Post-Production Supervisor

Vicky Grayson

Unit Publicity

Catherine Greenhalgh-kennedy

Production Assistant

Isobel Griffiths

Music

Nikkie Grimshaw

Art Department

Ellie Grimwood

Music

Vivien Guiraud

Animator

Robin Guise

Executive Producer

Julia Hall

Titles

Conor Hammond

Assistant Camera

Peter Hampden

Executive Producer

Frank Hanley

Driver

Anna Harantova

Titles

Sharon Harel-cohen

Executive Producer

Fiona Harper

Production

Sarah Harte

Assistant

Laura Hayes

Accountant

Martin Hayes

Construction Manager

Will Haynes

Production Secretary

Paul Hedges

Props

Paul Hedges

Props

Dominick Hewitt

Stunt Performer

James Hickey

Executive

Jim Hickey

Executive

Steve Hideg

Crane Grip

Sophie Higel

Assistant Director

Peter Hill

Transportation

Robin Hilton

Legal Services

Johanna Hogan

Legal Affairs

Miranda Howard

Casting Assistant

Matthew Hughes

Modelmaker

Mick Hurrell

Medic

Patrick Irwin

Plasterer

Ian Jackson

Camera Trainee

Film Details

Also Known As
Bir Vampir Hikayesi, Bizantija, Vampire Story, A
MPAA Rating
Release Date
2013
Production Company
Abbey Road Studios ; Ardmore Sound, Ltd. ; Arri Group ; British Film Institute ; Cine Electric, Ltd. ; Demarest Films ; Deutsche Filmversicherungs Gemeinschaft ; European Film Bonds ; Freud Communications ; IFC Films ; Irish Film Board ; Lee & Thompson ; Lipsync Creative ; London Voices ; Media Insurance Brokers ; Number 9 Films ; Parallel Films ; Reed Smith Llp ; Sheridans Solicitors ; Shipleys ; Team Fx ; Translux International ; Westend Films ; Windmill Lane
Distribution Company
IFC FILMS/MONGREL MEDIA/M+TROPOLE FILMS DISTRIBUTION; A Contracorriente Films ; Budapest Film ; CinTart ; Cinemania Groupicon ; Empire ; Europa Filmes ; Hollywood Entertainment (Greece) ; IFC Films ; IFC Films ; Intercom ; Kino Swiat International ; Mongrel Media ; Mongrel Media ; Métropole Films Distribution ; Métropole Films Distribution ; Phase 4 Films ; Phase 4 Films ; Shaw Organization ; Studiocanal UK ; Top Film ; Top Film Baltic
Location
Dublin, Ireland; United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 59m

Articles

Byzantium on DVD


Neil Jordan has long been captivated by the meeting of myth and magic and storytelling with the material world of love and sex and family, from the fairytale reworking of A Company of Wolves through the folktale on the Irish coast in Ondine. Byzantium, based on a play by Moira Buffin, is his second take on the vampire legend and this one is far less traditional than Interview with a Vampire. There is blood, of course, and there is sex, but it's less about eros than survival as an eternal in a mortal world, and as woman who dares claim the rights reserved by a cabal of men.

Clara (Gemma Arterton) walks the streets (in this case, the boardwalk of a British coastal town in the off-season) to pay the bills for herself and Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), an eternal sensitive teen pouring out her soul in unread letters cast to the wind. Flashbacks tell their origins: a life of degradation at the hands of a British officer (a proudly debauched Jonny Lee Miller) in an 18th century culture of male power and class division, and a desperate attempt to escape a death sentence of disease through an ancient ritual reserved for a cabal of powerful men who ruthlessly guard the secret of immortality.

Byzantium is rich with metaphor and sexual politics, almost overwhelmingly so. It's a Gothic tale with a twist of conspiracy and a radically different take on vampirism as ancient earth force tightly controlled by a male cabal who treat the transformation like a birthright. Only men can birth eternals and Clara has broken the covenant by giving immortality to her dying daughter. The curse isn't eternity and bloodthirst, it is how the men of her society destroy women with impunity. Vampirism is patriarchy here and Clara is the accidental feminist and matriarch challenging their power and authority. Which makes her a target.

This take plays with tropes of the female vampire as icy seductress. Arterton's Clara plays up her sexuality in tight blouses and plunging necklines but that's all playing the part. She is more of a tigress protecting her cub from a hunting party of male predators and her victims are, for the most part, predators in their own right. Yet she continues to support them both through prostitution, whether out of habit, defiance, or simply because it allows her survive off the grid with easy access to potential victims.

Saoirse Ronan plays Eleanor as the classic lonely, withdrawn girl, locked in transition from girl to woman for a couple of centuries and disconnected from the world by order of her mother, who is determined to protect her from the corruption of the violent streets they are reduced to live among. Pale and thin, Ronan has the look of a fragile, haunted girl, the innocent sentenced to eternal life who only feeds on the willing like a melancholy angel of death. Clara's feeding can get a bit messy but Eleanor takes only by consent and leaves her victims in a state of peace. Sworn never to tell the truth, she slowly connects with a dying boy, Frank (Caleb Landry Jones, as pale and fragile as Ronan's Eleanor), but he takes her story of living with vampires as a metaphor for abuse. Rather ironic in a film where practically everything is steeped in symbol and allegory except that moment of unvarnished (if poetically elevated) truth.

You won't find fangs or wooden stakes here (they draw blood with knife-like fingernails) and sunlight doesn't sear the flesh. They can walk in the daylight but they choose the night, and not only because the darkness makes for a more thematically fitting and visually entrancing atmosphere. It's easier to hide and to hunt in the shadows. Jordan creates his own ritual, notably the transformation as sacrificial offering to the Earth itself. Played out on a forsaken, barren rock of an island, it is a stunning image that begins with a walk into a cave, explodes with a column of birds shooting up from the earth like a geyser, and is sealed in blood that cascades down the black rocks of the lonely island, as if the bleeding from a sacrifice on the altar of a primeval temple. That's a primordial image as resonant as any classic vampire movie and it gives the film a foundation stronger than the script's Masonic conspiracy of loyal eternals hunting down our heroines. (If souls are the cost of eternity, then men give them up willingly in this version.) For all its darkness (literally as well as figuratively) and blood, it's quite lyrical and evocative and elemental, and that dark beauty and emotional ferocity brings dimension to themes that could otherwise come off as a literary conceit. Vampirism is both a gift and a curse, a kind of priesthood bestowed by the Earth and corrupted by the men who would try to control it. These women offer an alternative moral approach.

The Blu-ray and DVD editions feature over an hour of interviews with director Neil Jordan, stars Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Riley, and Calab Landry Jones, writer Moira Buffini, producers Stephen Woolly and Alan Moloney, cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, stunt coordinator Donal O'Farrell, production designer Simon Elliott, and key makeup artist Lynn Johnston. The interviews are presented as a single running feature with title cards dividing it up by topic, breaking up and shuffling the individual interviews throughout the piece. It's an awkward presentation but it does offer some interesting insights from the collaborators.

By Sean Axmaker
Byzantium On Dvd

Byzantium on DVD

Neil Jordan has long been captivated by the meeting of myth and magic and storytelling with the material world of love and sex and family, from the fairytale reworking of A Company of Wolves through the folktale on the Irish coast in Ondine. Byzantium, based on a play by Moira Buffin, is his second take on the vampire legend and this one is far less traditional than Interview with a Vampire. There is blood, of course, and there is sex, but it's less about eros than survival as an eternal in a mortal world, and as woman who dares claim the rights reserved by a cabal of men. Clara (Gemma Arterton) walks the streets (in this case, the boardwalk of a British coastal town in the off-season) to pay the bills for herself and Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), an eternal sensitive teen pouring out her soul in unread letters cast to the wind. Flashbacks tell their origins: a life of degradation at the hands of a British officer (a proudly debauched Jonny Lee Miller) in an 18th century culture of male power and class division, and a desperate attempt to escape a death sentence of disease through an ancient ritual reserved for a cabal of powerful men who ruthlessly guard the secret of immortality. Byzantium is rich with metaphor and sexual politics, almost overwhelmingly so. It's a Gothic tale with a twist of conspiracy and a radically different take on vampirism as ancient earth force tightly controlled by a male cabal who treat the transformation like a birthright. Only men can birth eternals and Clara has broken the covenant by giving immortality to her dying daughter. The curse isn't eternity and bloodthirst, it is how the men of her society destroy women with impunity. Vampirism is patriarchy here and Clara is the accidental feminist and matriarch challenging their power and authority. Which makes her a target. This take plays with tropes of the female vampire as icy seductress. Arterton's Clara plays up her sexuality in tight blouses and plunging necklines but that's all playing the part. She is more of a tigress protecting her cub from a hunting party of male predators and her victims are, for the most part, predators in their own right. Yet she continues to support them both through prostitution, whether out of habit, defiance, or simply because it allows her survive off the grid with easy access to potential victims. Saoirse Ronan plays Eleanor as the classic lonely, withdrawn girl, locked in transition from girl to woman for a couple of centuries and disconnected from the world by order of her mother, who is determined to protect her from the corruption of the violent streets they are reduced to live among. Pale and thin, Ronan has the look of a fragile, haunted girl, the innocent sentenced to eternal life who only feeds on the willing like a melancholy angel of death. Clara's feeding can get a bit messy but Eleanor takes only by consent and leaves her victims in a state of peace. Sworn never to tell the truth, she slowly connects with a dying boy, Frank (Caleb Landry Jones, as pale and fragile as Ronan's Eleanor), but he takes her story of living with vampires as a metaphor for abuse. Rather ironic in a film where practically everything is steeped in symbol and allegory except that moment of unvarnished (if poetically elevated) truth. You won't find fangs or wooden stakes here (they draw blood with knife-like fingernails) and sunlight doesn't sear the flesh. They can walk in the daylight but they choose the night, and not only because the darkness makes for a more thematically fitting and visually entrancing atmosphere. It's easier to hide and to hunt in the shadows. Jordan creates his own ritual, notably the transformation as sacrificial offering to the Earth itself. Played out on a forsaken, barren rock of an island, it is a stunning image that begins with a walk into a cave, explodes with a column of birds shooting up from the earth like a geyser, and is sealed in blood that cascades down the black rocks of the lonely island, as if the bleeding from a sacrifice on the altar of a primeval temple. That's a primordial image as resonant as any classic vampire movie and it gives the film a foundation stronger than the script's Masonic conspiracy of loyal eternals hunting down our heroines. (If souls are the cost of eternity, then men give them up willingly in this version.) For all its darkness (literally as well as figuratively) and blood, it's quite lyrical and evocative and elemental, and that dark beauty and emotional ferocity brings dimension to themes that could otherwise come off as a literary conceit. Vampirism is both a gift and a curse, a kind of priesthood bestowed by the Earth and corrupted by the men who would try to control it. These women offer an alternative moral approach. The Blu-ray and DVD editions feature over an hour of interviews with director Neil Jordan, stars Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Riley, and Calab Landry Jones, writer Moira Buffini, producers Stephen Woolly and Alan Moloney, cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, stunt coordinator Donal O'Farrell, production designer Simon Elliott, and key makeup artist Lynn Johnston. The interviews are presented as a single running feature with title cards dividing it up by topic, breaking up and shuffling the individual interviews throughout the piece. It's an awkward presentation but it does offer some interesting insights from the collaborators. By Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Limited Release in United States June 28, 2013

Released in United States on Video November 19, 2013

Released in United States 2013

Based on the play "A Vampire Story" by Moira Buffini.

Limited Release in United States June 28, 2013 (New York & Los Angeles)

Released in United States 2013

Released in United States on Video November 19, 2013

IFC Films acquired domestic distribution rights for an estimated $2 million.

Released in United States 2013 (Spotlight)