Weird and exhilarating vampire film set in a mythical Iranian nightscape called “Bad City” (although it was actually filmed outside LA).
“The Girl” (Sheila Vand) prowls the dark streets of Bad City covered by her black chador, preying on low life scum. Then she meets “Arash” (Arash Marandi) who is conveniently dressed in a Dracula costume, and she falls head over heels.
Amirpour creates a velvety B&W tableau, adds a hypnotic sound track, and… WOW! (JLH: 4/5)
Written & Directed Ana Lily Amirpour. Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. NOT YET SEEN BY RICH.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s Iranian vampire movie set in the mythical town of “Bad City.” Although starring native Iranian actors and spoken in Farsi, Amirpour filmed the black-and-white western in the Iranian community of Bakersfield, California.
The story centers on a good man caught in a bad situation. Young Arash has to deal with a nasty, evil dealer “Saeed” (Dominic Rains) on behalf of his drug-addicted father and surrenders his car as repayment on his bills. Saeed takes off in Arash’s car with prostitute/pimp “Atti” (Mozhan Marnò) and grotesquely makes her service him. While she’s tending to his needs, Saeed catches a glimpse of a weird apparition in his rear view mirror and tosses Atti out of the car. But before Saeed can get away, a shadowed figure catches up to him. In a hilariously funny sequence, The Girl traps Saeed, gobbles him up, and uses vampire tactics to do bad things to him. Wearing the traditional Iranian black chador, The Girl proceeds to stalk other people in the darkened streets of Bad City.
Meanwhile, gardener-by-day Arash finds Saeed’s body when he goes to retrieve his car and takes back his keys, along with drugs and money to keep his father supplied. Fully stocked and feeling a sense of relief, Arash attends a costume party dressed as Dracula and is quickly seduced into taking ecstasy. Not used to taking drugs (for the fear of turning into his father), he starts hallucinating and wonders into the street only to meet The Girl vampire. Seeing a handsome man in a Dracula costume catches her eye and confuses her: Is he one of her ilk or is he normal?
The Girl and develops a relationship with Arash and a sweet and tender friendship with unhappy Atti. Although the plot is difficult to explain, it isn’t really the point. The film is beautiful to look at, spooky and haunting with black and white imagery – on one hand pulpy but on the other, romantic. Between the Iranian pop music and the Farsi dialogue, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is clever, beautiful, and well done.
Brava to Ana Lily Amirpour.
Review © Jan Lisa Huttner (12/9/14)
Top Photo: By day, The Girl (Sheila Vand) lives alone in a tiny room.
Bottom Photo: By night, The Girl prowls the streets of Bad City.
Photos courtesy of Kino Lorber.
Exhibit One in the “low life scum” category is a drug dealer named “Saeed” (Dominic Rains) who has cheated Arash and brutalized a prostitute named “Atti” (Mozhan Marno).
After The Girl is done with Saeed, she has a heart-t0-heart chat with Atti. Touched by the fact that someone has seen her and empathized with her unhappiness, Atti feels a stirring of hope for better future.
Gentle, touching scene in the midst of mayhem 😉