A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.
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★★★★★ review by nathaxnne walker (semi-hiatus) on Letterboxd
Sometimes before you fall in love or at the very beginning of falling in love there are signs and wonders whereby what is coming to pass signals itself to you because something so vast and so powerful could not happen without announcing its presence, its necessity, its inherent factualness. Much of our lives it seems are spent in conditions of obscurity, of might-be, of might-have-been, or was-but-is-gone-now, so when there is a falling-in-love, one that is real love, true love, one which will forever alter you, which will not leave you in the condition it found you in, even if after that fact it falls away, it becomes part of the architecture and ruin of the past which we call our present, the here and the now which is fleeting and unfixed, continually destabilized like a broken reflection or a shadow uncast, whatever you are here, however unknown, you were known once, recognized once by something which looked at you, which looked into you and thereby made you into something other, the you that is now and shall not always be. Know that what we are, however fallen, however indeterminate, lost even to ourselves, know that all of that is the product of love, a real love, a true love, one which called to you, which called you from unbeing, a love which made you and unmade you, a love which, however distant, can never be anything other than what you are and have been and shall be, however much we wish it gone, or wish it had never been, wish for it to never have called our name, to never have spoken that name aloud, to have named us from the very start.
★★★★½ review by DirkH on Letterboxd
Like a jazz infused fevered dream, this twisted fairytale shows what happens when Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf turn out to be the same person.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a subversive horror tale in which role reversal makes for an interesting shift in the usual power balance so predominantly present in the genre (or most genres for that matter). The beauty of this monochromatic gem is, however, that it is never on the nose about what it tries to convey.
With a slow burn subtlety it manages to evoke a sense of dread caused by the titular character and in the mean time create a destitute ghost town which feels more like some kind of purgatory than the real world. And in this town the girl stalks, observes and protects. Taking on the shape of the single minded town's conscience, she is both saviour and beast in one.
Opposed to her is an equally interesting character Arash who is lost in the town's spiderweb like hold it has on its inhabitants. He is an interesting lost soul and the way the connection between him and the girl shapes up is very intriguing and handled with the same transcendent, dream like pace so very present throughout the film.
I loved this film. It is beautiful, unique and plays around with expectations brilliantly. And even though it sometimes lingers too much in its own atmosphere, it's easy to forgive it its slightly wonky pacing as it actually manages to be truly different without compromise. It feels genuine and passionate and that always wins me over.
★★★★ review by Jonathan White on Letterboxd
Those who know me, know that I’ve never been a true fan of the Vampire genre. I liked Interview with a Vampire well enough, but didn’t really love it. The seemingly insatiable appetite that the general public has for the blood suckers continues to mystify me.
A few years ago at TIFF, my vampire loving wife picked Byzantium, director Neil Jordan’s return to the genre 18 years after his genre high point, Interview. I have to say I was mildly intrigued by his take and the relationship of his two female leads. The TIFF before last, another Vampire take .. this time by Jim Jarmusch. Wow, how did he manage to refresh an overexposed genre with such ease? OK, this has to be the seminal Vampire film that cannot be transcended in terms of originality and characterization. I believe that completely, and in believing such, I don’t have to watch any other Vampire film.
I then see my friend Len’s review of an Iranian Vampire Western. Immediately there is controversy that this isn’t, in fact, an Iranian film, it’s filmed in California, and funded in the US. I actually don’t think that matters a hoot, and I don’t think that British born and US raised director Ana Lily Amirpour mining her Iranian roots to craft an entirely new take on the Vampire is anything other than brilliant. It doesn't matter that it’s filmed in California, as opposed to Iran, and that the actors are American / Iranian, with the emphasis on American. What matters most is that Amirpour brilliantly used obfuscating language to deliver a hard sci-fi concept. This is an American film, but because it’s set in the fictional Iranian town ‘Bad City’ she’s free to comment on North American culture while the audience is distracted by subtitles.
For a first feature, I have to say that I’m damned impressed. If I would have to compare, I’d say this is Sin City meets Tarantino and Lynch with a hint of Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. Lily Amirpour is unafraid to hold on a dramatically beautiful shot for as long as it takes to deliver her thin exposition, knowing that the viewer won’t be listening to the rather unimportant diatribe, but rather concentrating on the majesty and mystery of the visuals.
Although on a first watch it didn’t really try to unravel and explore, but for the vampire themes of sucking the life out of humans paired with the unrelenting oil pumps sucking the life out of the earth was certainly interesting.
This might just be my favorite Vampire film ever. It’s on Netflix US, and I strongly suggest you give it a try.
★★★★ review by Naughty aka Juli Norwood on Letterboxd
A film that chooses to tell the story through magnificent NOIRish cinematography for the most part rather than rely on the insufficiency of words that all too often fall on deaf ears!
Where words can be misinterpreted or be accused of being too heavy handed in delivering its message director Ana Lily Amirpour uses striking imagery most effectively! The messages her imagery conjure leave no room for doubt or misinterpretation! The message sent is loud and clear and never ventures into heavy handed territory!
It is a thing of absolute beauty! Striking black and white cinematography gleefully playing with the shadows and light!
This isn't a film so much as it is the purveyor of a mood or feeling! The actors evoke such highly charged emotions with nothing more than a look of yearning! The long shots leave me weak in the knees and utterly breathless! My eyes gorged themselves repeatedly throughout this visual feast!
To state it is not your typical vampire film would be a huge understatement! If you go in with notions of seeing a horror film about vampires you could very well end up walking away unsatisfied! Try to go in with no preconceived expectations or details other than knowing an Iranian director uses the western vampire as a vehicle to deliver her vision to her audience and you could walk away a very happy camper!
FYI: Director Ana Lily Amirpour performed the long skateboarding shots and is an avid skateboarder!
★★★★ review by Christina on Letterboxd
I watched the trailer to this about a year ago and my initial reaction was, "I might pass, looks kind of slow and boring, not my cup'a tea." I really had NO interest in watching this but of course, here I am finished watching and rating it 4 stars.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is about a young vampire girl, who wanders the streets of Bad City becoming peoples shadows as they walk through the lonely streets at night, protecting those who need to be protected from drugs and crime. She meets a young boy, Arash and the two quickly find themselves not so lonely anymore. In one scene he says to her "I am Dracula!" I thought that was pretty funny. anyway...
Beautifully shot in black and white, the cinematography really lets you feel helpless and alone. There were a few moments throughout the film that really stood out to me, the first "teeth" appearance and the shock in the victims face was incredible and practically put a smile on my face.
Incredible soundtrack throughout the film and specifically one scene that I'll most likely be thinking about for a few hours, the song played is Death-White Lies and I'll be listening to that all week.
Don't go into this expecting gore and throats being bitten off viciously right in the camera so you can visually see the jugular veins and all that good stuff all up on the TV. This movie doesn't rely on that.
Great little vampire film.
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