Monday, March 30, 2015

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Writer:    Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast:       Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh
Language: Persian

In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware that they are being stalked by a lonesome Burqa clad vampire. It is an adaptation of Ana Lily Amirpour's graphic novel with the same name. 

The main characters apart from the vampire are: Arash who does petty crimes to get by and has a junkie father who acts as a parasite, Saeed who is the local gangster/bully/pimp and Atti the prostitute. The vampire girl is essentially a vigilante with leftist liberal agenda. Arash models himself on James Dean, which might be a reference to Terence Malick's Badlands in which Michael Sheen 's character does the same. Apart from that one it will also remind you of another graphic novel based film, Sin City, not just because it is shot in black and white. There is also a Western feel to the whole thing with a neo-noir tinge. It is exquisitely shot in a self-indulgent manner and is a very enjoyable watch. People are predisposed to look for political subtext in films from countries where the population is repressed and since this one was shot in California with backing from Sundance film festival, Amirpour didn't have to really make it ambiguous in any sort of way. She was born in England and is settled now in US and the target audience of the film seems to be those from the West. It is better to see the film as a mish-mash genre bender than as a political one. Highlight of the film would of course be the burqa wearing vampire on a skateboard. 

So we've had three really good films involving vampires from last year. The other two are 'Only Lovers Left Alive' and 'What We Do In The Shadows'. It looks like we got all the shitty studio-backed vampire films out of the way and now it is the time for independent filmmakers to have fun with the genre. It is not uncommon for Hollywood to latch on to an idea and you get waves of big-budget films with same theme. Zombie films were followed by Vampire ones which were again followed by Zombie films and maybe the next trend will be witches or something like that. 

Ana Lily Amripour's next film is supposed to be an English one titled 'The Bad Bitch', a post apocalyptic cannibal love story set in Texas wasteland. Sounds promising. The plot is very thin when you talk about 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night' but the atmosphere more than makes up for it. The director also makes a cameo as the the other girl from the party scene.

Rating: 4.5/5