A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
USA / Iran, 2014
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
My initital expectations towards this were very low. The trailer looked odd and the basic concept sounded somewhat goofy. Yet, to my surprise, "A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night" turned out to be far better than I imagined. The feature debut of Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour is an awkward, yet impressive and ultra-cool vampire-western, taking place in the Iranian ghost town "Bad City" where a lonely teenager falls in love with a Burka-wearing female vampire who roams the deserted streets at night.
The movie starts out rather slow and a tad strange, but then after the first 15-20 minutes, I was suddenly drawn into the whole scenario and fully drawn to the screen right until the bizarre, yet wonderfully mystifying ending. Amirpour manages to combine 'coolness', 'scariness' and 'artsiness' into a very moody, very atmospheric and totally unique black-and-white chiller that somehow makes it a companion piece to Jim Jarmusch's equally great "Only Lovers Left Alive" - and in some weird kinda way, it made me think that both films could actually exist in the same universe, even though they're both radically different from each other.
The b/w photography is gorgeous, at times Lynch-esque (power station scene), at times just balls-to-the-walls uber-cool (party scene, the girl's house). Seeing a Burka-wearing woman walking through deserted, abandoned areas is not just super-stylish, but also super-scary! The acting is thoroughly superb, especially the performances by the beautiful Sheila Vand as the titular girl, the even more beautiful Mozhan Marnò as pitiful prostitute, and Arash Marandi as teenager with problems who's just batshit funny when he's drunk and gets lost on his way home.
Massive kudos to the music which sounds like it was composed by the, um, Iranian Chris Isaak, as well as to the inclusion of "Death", one of my favorite songs of one of my favorite bands White Lies, and to the unbelievably adorable kitty (called Masuka) who has quite a big part in the movie (yay for kitty awesomeness!). Overall: not for everyone, but definitely a must-see for fans of stylish and/or sophisticated vampire films.