I love art!
It’s really as simple as that! And when it comes in the form of moving pictures, well, multiply that by a whole lot and you know how I feel when I come across hidden little gems like WITH A KISS I DIE.
Seriously, it’s like the makers of this movie saw KISS ME FIRST and were like, ‘Fine, I’ll do it myself!” because this short, well, if you count a movie at 1:13:35 short. Actually speaking of that runtime, this is what most ‘artistic’ Japanese movies run at! Hmm, someone is taking lesson, and good ones at that!
Anyway, this short is like taking KISS ME FIRST and concentrating on the relationship that mattered – Leila and Tess! In fact, I can even see those two as a different version of Juliet and Farryn! Juliet is the POC, who should be the main but this story is written in such a way that it is hard to tell who the main heroine is between her and our blonde Farryn and I guess that is the point! Or if you want to really pick a side, you could say that Juliet is the Hero of the story while Farryn is the Heroine, but even that doesn’t make sense because…Ah, we are getting into spoilers here so let’s jump over…
Who are you? Revolutionary Girl Utena?
From the movie’s plot description, Juliet should be the Heroine of this story. She is exactly who you think of when you hear the name Juliet. Think Shakespeare! Yes, this Juliet is that Juliet! Here is the synopsis…
Filmed on the beautiful islands of Greece, “With a Kiss I Die” is a dark love story about Juliet Capulet (from Shakespearean fame) who is forced to live for all eternity knowing that her true love died in her arms nearly 800 years ago. Broken and numb, she meets a young woman who captures her heart again, and teaches her that love and loss are all a part of life, and that a life without love is no life at all.
Yeah, I had the same reaction as you after reading that! I have never reached out to get a movie as fast I did this one! And just as you, I too thought I was in for the ride of my life! The concept for the movie seems so ground-breaking reading it that I was prepared for my mind to be blown, not only by the visuals (rarely do movies boast about locations they shot in so this had to be good visually) but also the plot richness itself! I was ready to finally have some good food, which is a rarity these days when it comes to movies!
Then I saw the runtime as soon as I clicked play and I had a pause! Only one hour for a story that was being promised? I got doubts but I did not let that get in the way! I gave it a chance! Many a movies manage to tell their stories in short time. I mean I have been endlessly applauding short films I post about on here and some of those are under 10 minutes so an hour is enough time for an architect to do their magic!
And so I went in with optimism and I had a blast watching this movie! For a movie that is short on time, it did not rush any scenes at all! In fact it was true to those ‘silent’ movies that let a scene run its course so you can get the emotion that is being delivered! I love movies like those that let you enjoy the moment to its fullest! No moment in the movie did I feel like it was taking up unnecessary time, which was in short supply and thus made the possibility of impatience very high!
Just like I had hoped and imagined, the movie looks absolutely gorgeous! People take the visual aspect and its importance in movies for granted but to me, it means quite a lot! Movies are foremost supposed to be all about the visual! The first ever movies did not have sound or anything so one had to pay attention with their eyes! With movies these days that aspect is being reduced each passing decade and I cry for it. Now, not to say I don’t love me some music of effects! But I only love them when they enhance your input! For example BLADE RUNNER 2049 where it felt like the music was alive within the visuals of the movies! You felt the imposing walls and desserts when the music kicked in! Another example being A GIRL AT MY DOOR! That scene in the night where Young-nam (Bae’s character) first see Do-hee (Sae-ron’s character) and the only musical cue you hear is the simple pulling of a string as Young-nam runs after a crying and unaware Do-hee, almost as if she was being pulled by an unseen force…Majestic!! And don’t get me started on THE HANDMAIDEN!
So I love music in movies when it is done right but my priority is always the visuals! And this movie dear Readers delivers in that area! And not only does it look overall fantastic, but they actually use visuals to also tell the story! For example, they will brighten up/heat up a scene where our two girls you know have connected at the soul level. The very first time is when they fight meet at the café where they are sitting across a room from each other, some guy tries to hit on a tired Juliet and Farryn watches amused as she brushes him off like it was a daily routine all her life. Then Juliet feels her watching and she looks over! Farryn doesn’t look away but instead hardens her gaze as if to show her versatility! The scene is lit up more than usual and you just know something just happened!
As the plot says, Juliet is still not over her love Romeo, yes, that Romeo, that died over 800 years ago! So what does this make Juliet? Is she a reincarnation of that Juliet and she has to always waste away her life alone because she never loved anyone but Romeo? Is this some Kannazuki no Miko levels of suffering we have on our hands? And where is Romeo? Why isn’t he being reincarnated?
Well, the answer to these questions is one and simple – No! No, Juliet is not getting reincarnated, but she is rather, that one and the same Juliet that has been living all this time, all on her own! Which means that yes, Romeo is still dead as a deader! Which means that Juliet’s love is 800 years strong and that yes, she has been alone all these years, still crying over her Romeo and lives only to search for his grave so she can kill herself where he was buried and lay with him!
It sounds quite impressive so far, right? It sounds like what I thought of the story being so rich and fulfilling is actually what is happening, right? Sadly, that is not the case! They add one element that destroys everything and simplifies the story so much that in the end I love this movie not for its story and its complexity but rather only by its visuals, diversity, equality (character-wise) and the yuri of course!
That element is that Juliet is a Vampire!
Yeah! I know what you are going to say. You are thinking that this is actually pretty interesting a concept! But sadly I have seen it all! The Vampire thing has been done so many times and while not the same, the X-men used the same trick to explain the mysteries of the historic great figures by saying they were mutants! And also, it feels really cheap! It is a cheap way to get out of a complex situation! Yes, reincarnation has been overdone too but it would have been better than the damn Vampires!
Now look here, my favourite genre is Horror and that means Vampires are on top of my favourite menu but the way the movies uses Vampires is so useless that it makes the reasoning that much less appealing! For starters there was no fight! Can you believe it!?! Shit, Juliet even put on some kind of battle clothes when Farryn had been kidnapped by the Head of the Vampires that turned Juliet all those years ago as she died close to Romeo but…nothing!
The big Boss dies by poison and so did the cousin that any other movie would have made a show of in making him fight with Juliet for what he did to Farryn! But even he died of poison, albeit a different kind of poison! The poison that ended up killing Juliet too by the way!
That poison is Farryn’s blood!
That right there is the only great thing about the story other than Juliet and Farryn’s relationship! And by that I mean the fact that the only other person that Juliet has loved since Romeo turns out to be on borrowed time and not only that! Add in the fact that Juliet can’t turn her, which you might think might be the only way to save Farryn (by turning her into an immortal vampire) and you have yourself one heart-breaking love story that rivals even Juliet’s previous love story!
Okay, that was not just good, it was brilliant! No, this does not mean that I want BAD ENDS now! It’s just that when they are done right, they make for a great emotional story! And this movie did it right! You see Farryn is really, really, sick! She is a lost cause! The only way she thought she would be saved was by being turned into a Vampire! Meanwhile Juliet is falling for Farryn but she is scared of loving someone again that she will have to watch die and leave her behind!
Why then you ask did she not think of turning Farryn? Well the thing is that she still has some human aspects that she will completely lose were she to turn someone! If she turned Farryn, she would be completely emotionless! She did not want to forget that, or about Romeo! But in refusing to completely turn, her Sire, is losing himself. For some reason until Juliet fully turns, he cannot Sire any more people meaning that if they were being killed, the vampires were in danger of being extinct!
Which is why he kidnaps Farryn in order to force Juliet to turn by turning her close friend who had been feeding her all this time without being turned! But he had grown jealous of Juliet falling for some girl while he had been there by her side all through his life and she did not want to turn him!
Juliet of course wanting to save Farryn, she drains the Dude! But the cousin that had Farryn restrained couldn’t resist the urge to hurt Juliet and he sank his teeth into Farryn! He of course did not know that Farryn was sick and he was killed by her diseased blood! But just like Juliet had told us, trying to turn Farryn would be bad news bears for both parties which meant that Farryn too was dying!
Juliet carries her love out of there bridal style and they go to have one last conversation. They finally confess their love for one another. They kiss one last time. Farryn dies. Juliet follows her soon after she finally makes a decision and decides to drink from her and she too dies!
What a lovely movie! I felt like a mess afterwards but it was a great mess!
I said that Juliet and Farryn confessed their love for one another in their dying minute but that does not mean that they did not know before then! Hell, they did everything that all couple do through their love lives! They basically spent their time together going on dates! They had kissed twice before they even had sex! Yes, they had sex! They were already together but they had not cemented the feeling with the magic words!
This movie is so beautiful! And I don’t mean that in the visual sense only! The way Juliet’s life is impacted by this girl on her death bed (metaphorically speaking) is such a great message that just leaves me shook to the core!
While it is a BAD END, this movie shouldn’t be counted into the ‘burry ur gays’ meme list! First of all Juliet was as straight as they came and we never know if Farryn was really gay or she, just like any other human, was drawn to Juliet because of her irresistible aura that vampires give off to attract prey! Either way they are equal in the end! They both die! They die because there was no other way for this to end! Farryn was never ever going to be saved and Juliet had gotten into a habit where she lived for nothing! The longer she lived the longer her heart grew hard! Farryn came and gave meaning back to her. She reminded her of the value of life! That is the greatest gift that someone like a vampire can never get but Farryn gave Juliet that!
And I don’t know what it is about it but I am finding that I am getting an unhealthy obsession with couples of different ethnicity! There is something simply majestic about it! I can’t put my finger on it! Which is strange because I can’t stand ‘interracial’ porn (Yes, welcome to my world. I grew up on 4chan and Japanese porn doesn’t even phase me anymore)!
Anyway, this movie ticked so many boxes for me and I have nothing else to do but recommend the hell out of it!