Much like its main character’s moral compass, this film shifts from genre to genre. Fused with elements of Horror, Spaghetti Western, Film Noir, Iranian New-Wave, and even teenage Rom-com, it is difficult to categorize this film.
Written and directed in 2014 by American/Iranian film director, Ana Lily Amirpour, ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ is a feminist, Iranian-based vampire film which challenges film stereotypes across the table.
Heavily reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch’s work, the plot is slow paced and minimal, portraying the mundane existence of the characters who are living in this desolate Iranian town, accompanied by a meticulous soundtrack.
Shot (in black and white) in the California Desert, we are transported to Iran (the spoken language in this town is Farsi). The location is the imaginary town, ‘Bad City’, a desert landscape surrounded by prehistoric looking oil wells and vast pits of dead bodies. The tone is both ominous and bleak, while at the same time mysterious and dreamy.
It begins with Arash, a young, James Dean-like boy in a white t-shirt and jeans, donning a pompadour. Among several unique and morally challenged characters, the most intriguing one in this story is The Girl, a Chador-wearing vampire who skates alone through the streets of ‘Bad City’. This character is an incredible example of how this film breaks the genre and gender stereotypes of folklore and cinema. She is empowered, and yet gently curious, like an adolescent predator learning how to hunt, still unaware of its full potential for bloodlust. When her and Arash cross paths, all bets are off and were caught in the middle of an intimate courtship that feels very tender, despite the elements of danger and death throughout the story.
If you’re looking for something action packed and filled with horror, move along. However, if you are in the mood for an unconventional love story, filled with soporific moods and beautiful visuals, look no further.
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