Iranian-American filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is one of those auspicious debuts that gets your heart racing for the future of cinema. Shot in stark black & white and smartly dubbed as “the first Iranian vampire western,” Amirpour’s exquisitely composed drama is part art house drama, part genre picture with a tinge of romance. Think of it as the stylistic marriage of Jim Jarmusch, Robert Rodriguez and even John Hughes.
Like her instantly iconic, abaya-wearing hipster protagonist—the “Girl” of the title—Amirpour’s film works simultaneously as an ode to the rebellious nature of youth as well as subversive cinema. The film’s desolate setting—the aptly titled Bad City—is a clear substitute for Tehran while its desperate, drug-addled characters are stand-ins for modern-day Iranian society.
But like Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In and Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, Amirpour’s vision of a vampire in a bad city is more focused on inducing a state of mind than it is on delivering those more traditional Hollywood scare-a-minute thrills. This isn’t Twilight, or even Interview with the Vampire for that matter. The result is a seductive film that lurks in your memory long after you think you’re done with it.
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Screenwriter: Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò
Producers: Ana Lily Amirpour, Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah
Running time: 99 minutes
Companies: Kino Lorber
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is now playing at the Miami Beach Cinematheque in South Florida.