Berlinale: Programme

Film File


Shadow of the Vampire

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During the making of Nosferatu, a film version of Bram Stoker’s vampire tale “Dracula”, Berlin-based director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau aims for high realism. The exteriors are shot in 1921 in the Carpathian Mountains, where the farmers are played by real farmers. The vampire is played by Max Schreck, known as an adherent of the Reinhardt and Stanislavski methods. But suddenly the thespian begins behaving strangely. He’ll only shoot at night, he never takes his costume off, and he attacks the cinematographer several times. But above all, he has a special craving for his co-star Greta Schröder, who is innocent of the real nature of her over-assertive colleague … Willem Dafoe won several accolades for his portrayal of Schreck, AKA Transylvanian Count Orlok, including Oscar and Golden Globe nominations as best supporting actor. Despite his terrifying exterior, sporting full vampire regalia – bald, pointy ears, extra-long fingernails, and sharpened incisors, Dafoe managed to make the damaged soul behind the odd make-up visible. His vampire is no brutal bloodsucker, but rather a sensitive outsider with an appreciation for tact, politeness, and – albeit very black – humour.

USA / Great Britain / Luxembourg 2000


90’ · Black/White & Colour · 35 mm

Rating R12


John Malkovich
Willem Dafoe
Udo Kier
Cary Elwes
Catherine McCormack
Eddie Izzard
John Aden Gillet
Nicholas Elliott


E. Elias Merhige
Steven Katz
Director of Photography
Lou Bogue
Chris Wyatt
Dan Jones
Nigel Heath
Production Design
Assheton Gorton
Art Director
Christopher Bradley
Caroline de Vivaise
Ann Buchanan
Nicholas Cage, Jeff Levine

Produced by

Long Shot Films / BBC Films / DeLux Productions