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In Only Lovers Left Alive, it's clear that blood is in limited supply. Adam and Eve both comment that they've got "the good stuff" and discuss a "contamination" that appears to have infected the human population. Ava seems desperate for blood when she visits, and Adam repeatedly tries to stop her from drinking as much as she does.

Despite their superhuman speed and longevity, and Eve's ability to tell how old something is by touching it, the vampires don't seem to exhibit any other supernatural abilities. In particular, they do not have superhuman strength:

When Eve and Adam dump the body in the river, they must work together to lift and toss it.

They also seem quite lethargic, especially near the end of the film when

they arrive in Tangiers and cannot find a source of uncontaminated blood.

In Adam's case, the lethargy could merely be due to his depression, and indeed Eve seems somewhat less lethargic than he does.

Did Jim Jarmusch (the writer and director) intend the vampire's lethargy and/or their lack of superhuman strength to be an effect of their limited blood supply? Or do vampires in this world simply lack supernatural strength and act lethargic?

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Did Jim Jarmusch (the writer and director) intend the vampire's lethargy and/or their lack of superhuman strength to be an effect of their limited blood supply? Or do vampires in this world simply lack supernatural strength and act lethargic?

It's just a different take than the usual vampire tropes.

Jarmusch is known for off-beat thinking and will do things the way he sees them.

Vanity Fair

VF: You were working on this film for seven years during which time the vampire genre evolved into this mainstream fixation, with Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries. You are not a filmmaker who creates movies for the mainstream. Did vampires’ sudden popularity discourage you or depress you while you were making Only Lovers Left Alive?

Jarmusch: It had absolutely no effect. I don’t see those films. I didn’t see the T.V. show. I wasn’t really interested in those. Maybe they were good, I don’t know. But they didn’t appeal to me, because they seem to follow the more conventional approach to the genre. I never read Anne Rice either, but I have a pretty extensive knowledge of vampire stories. Trends don’t really bother me because whatever I do is not going to be like what other people do, even if I wanted it to be.


VF: It was fun seeing the way you modernized and poked fun at vampire mythology—in one scene Tilda and Tom eat blood Popsicles.

Jarmusch: The vampire thing was so much fun, with the blood and these characters, being modern vampires, [who] have to worry about the quality of the blood they drink. They are conscientious about how they attain it and how they dress to attain it..[snip]..It was fun figuring out what vampire-mythological things we incorporate, and which do we discard?

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    That's interesting, but I think either interpretation (they're lethargic because they don't drink much blood, or they're just naturally lethargic) would be an equally "off-beat" version of a vampire, so I don't really see evidence here one way or the other to answer the question. – Kyle Strand Feb 4 '17 at 23:28
  • This does not answer the question. It hand waves it away. – cde Feb 5 '17 at 3:38
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    @kyle in fact, most vampire interpretations have vampires getting weak from not feeding. That's vampire 101, nothing unique about it. – cde Feb 5 '17 at 3:56

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