I'm not sure what's most alluring about Ana Lily Amirpour's directorial debut A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. It could be the sensual mystique of its black-and-white cinematography, the inventive take on the classic vampire film, or the spaghetti Western score. But Amirpour's film shook up Hollywood this year, so check out its limited release in OC when it opens this Friday.
Amirpour writes and directs this atmospheric horror romance about a small Iranian town called Bad City where the cold chill of death lurks among its inhabitants. Among the townspeople is a mysterious girl with beguiling looks who maintains a deadly presence as she walks home alone at night as a bloodsucking vampire out to feast. Enter a young man, coming right off the set of a 1950s greaser film, whose drug addict/gambler father has just cost him his prized '57 Thunderbird due to unpaid gambling debts. Her distant cool entrances him, and even as she knows he's easy prey, she can't help but fall in love herself. It's the stuff of many human-meets-monster love stories, regenerated here with a pulpy/film noir mood that entrances its audience as well. Peep the trailer for the film below and soak in its dark, surreal aesthetic.
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For those with subtitle phobias, know that this film will be presented in its original language, Persian, with English subtitles. Director Amirpour is an Iranian-born director, raised briefly in England and now living in Los Angeles (in fact, much of this movie was apparently made in Bakersfield, CA-- so Bad City's dreary look takes much from Bakersfield's barren expanse, how droll!).
Touted everywhere as the "first Iranian vampire movie," A Girl is one of the first films out of the Vice Films/Fox marriage to emerge (Fishing Without Nets and All This Mayhem are the other two releases). This venture certainly seems to afford independent, critical art house films bigger audiences than they would normally reach, which is a win/win. But A Girl is so much more than its heavily-spread tagline suggests, and only by proper introduction can a viewer truly appreciate it.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night opens limited release Friday, December 12 through December 18 at the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana. For showtimes and tickets, visit fridacinema.org