The Vampire is a nature short. It opens with exquisitely photographed sea creatures, moves into a discussion of the popular vampire–with Nosferatu clips–and then gets to its point. The titular vampire in question is the South American vampire bat and director Painlevé has one in captivity and photographs it.
He also throws a guinea pig in to show off how the vampire bat feeds on its prey. One has to assume the French didn’t have an analog to the ASPCA.
Painlevé goes out of his way to demonize the poor bat, which is just a product of its environment. Admittedly, the one he has in captivity likes kind of nasty and moves in an extremely creepy manner… but the species doesn’t deserve the treatment Painlevé gives them.
The Vampire‘s philosophically unsound. No matter how good the animal photography gets, Painlevé’s ludicrous, inexplicable bias sinks the short’s documentary value.
Directed by Jean Painlevé.