Performed by a Farsi-speaking Iranian cast, but shot on location in California, this Amirpour debut film has echos of Vampire, Spaghetti Western, Iranian and Nouvelle Vague genres. Shot evocatively in monochrome, Sheila Vand’s vampire girl walks the streets of Bad City cloaked in her chador, sometimes riding a skateboard, and encounters the marginalised and the bad. And a cat. The dreamlike landscape is full of rich images open to multiple interpretations. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a very slick and surprising vampire movie. It has Iranian characters but the look and feel of an early Jim Jarmusch movie ….” Geoffrey Macnab, The Indpendent. (Cert 15)
Dir: Ana Lily Amirpour 101mins USA 2014
In this intriguing and stylish debut film from Iranian director Ana Lily Amirpour, we are transported to a fictional Bad City set in the Californian landscape but inhabited by a Persian speaking Iranian cast. Amirpour is said to have written the screenplay specifically for Sheila Vand, cast as the vampire, whose ambiguous appearance in her after-dark apparel of a sweeping chador walking alone at night subverts all preconceived assumptions about gender and race. Amirpour allows the Girl to clean up the streets specifically of men who abuse women – but with a light and humorous touch. Made on a minimal budget and shot in monochrome, the film has an atmosphere that seeps into your very pores.
The film owes much to influences from genres such as classic ‘sphagetti’ Western mixed with a James Dean-era aesthetic, as seen at the beginning with the introduction of the character Arash in his white tee-shirt and convertible car, to the French New Wave, with the Girl’s Breton shirt seen in her apartment after removing her chador but most notably to Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (2013). Amirpour, who is also a singer and DJ, uses a contemporary, rhythmic soundtrack, which is especially evocative in certain key scenes, to perfectly echo the action in the film.
“The image of a female vampire skateboarding down a street, her voluminous veil flying out behind her, does the job with more poetic satisfaction and truth than any explicit monologue about the repression of women could ever do” Anon, Roger Ebert online
The Girl -Sheila Vand
Arash – Arash Marandi
The Junkie -Marshall Manesh
The Prostitute -Mozhan Marno
The Pimp – Dominic Bains
Director – Ana Lily Amirpour
Producer -Justin Beguand
Screenplay -Ana Lily Amirpour
Cinematography -Lyle Vincent
Original Music – Johnny Jewel
- I couldn’t possibly explain why I was so gripped by a such a weird and unbelievable story – but I was! And what a lovely ending
- I thought I might enjoy this film and I wasn’t disappointed
- With a soundtrack that would make a great playlist for any hipster get-together and clean, simple cinematography, this film was a unique experience – best seen on the big screen
- Can’t beat B&W for atmosphere! Great soundtrack
- It wouldn’t have worked in colour. She’s coming to a street near you …. I loved the cat!
- Some striking photography and some dysfunctional people going nowhere. A very expressive cat
- Interesting and different
- Interesting, arty filming. Style over substance? Why the cat?
- The cat deserved an Oscar!
- The [indecipherable] of the boy wonderfully transcended the polarity between Good and Evil
- Ambitious but a bit Expressionist. Q: Which is worse – with the pills or without the pills?
- Good story but too bloody slow and long!