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Photo courtesy of CIFF // Film directed by Ariane Louis-Seize

CIFF 2023: A fall romance for the ages with Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person

By Ramiro Bustamante Torres, October 3 2023—

If you enjoy a good vampire story that has a cute romance, this is the film for you. This is Ariane Louis-Seize’s Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person — a rom-com involving Sasha (Sara Montpetit), a vampire that struggles with her family’s expectation of being a vampire, and Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard), a suicidal high schooler that tries to find a way out of his miserable life. This Canadian film takes place in rural Quebec, which is seemingly a perfect place for a small vampire family to settle in. 

While the film touches on more serious issues such as meeting your parents’ expectations or being a teen dealing with suicidal thoughts, the film balances it with moments of humour as the vampire family mirrors what a human family would do or glimpses of romance between the two main characters. The film does not diminish the fact that both teens struggle with thoughts of suicide and shows a support group that both teens attend. As the audience we get to see that it could be anyone struggling with this and how other people have found ways to cope. However, the teens have their own solutions to their problems and shenanigans ensue. 

Sasha’s character is your typical goth teen, a given since she’s a vampire, but she is also sensitive. She has a compassion for humans that is unheard of for vampires and her family struggles to get her to hunt and provide for herself or she will starve herself. This is something many human parents struggle with, excluding the blood-drinking side of things. Paul is a quiet, bullied teen with a single mom who struggles to take care of him. At both school and work, Paul is bullied by the popular crowd and his mom works late hours which lets us know he spends most of his time alone. It was alluded to that he has been to the support group before, therefore we see that this is something he has been struggling with for a long time and his mom has tried to find help for him. As both are weighted down by their families’ expectations, they each show suicide ideation and attempts. When they meet, there is a connection between the two and they try to find solutions to their problems together: Sasha will feed on Paul since he wants to die anyway, with the condition she can help him fulfill his dying wish – except he doesn’t have one. 

As they try to complete their catch-22, we see how each teen starts changing and learning more about life. The movie does not feel heavy with the theme of suicide, but it’s not brushed away as part of a punchline either. We see how both families attempt to help their teens find their way which adds the power a support system has when struggling with depression and suicide. A good coming-of-age film that has some questionable moments, its message, that support can go a long way, is strong underneath. The movie was well received by the audience, with everyone laughing along with the humour and plenty of applause at the end, and it was a standout from this year’s CIFF selection. 

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