blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Vampire (1945, Jean Painlevé)

A shot from THE VAMPIRE, directed by Jean Painlevé.

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.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Jean Painlevé.


2 responses to “The Vampire (1945, Jean Painlevé)”

  1. This sounds hilarious, guinea pig abuse aside.

  2. Uhhh, I think you might want to check out other films by him. This film was made directly after WWII and is Painlevé’s attempt at criticizing Nazi’s whom he directly calls out in the sequence where the Bat seems to make the Heil salute.

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