A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Ana Lily Amirpour’s feature directorial debut exudes coolness and genuine cult appeal in its portrait of a vampire in an imagined Iran.
The aptly-named Bad City is a desert town in Iran that could easily be mistaken for a location in the Californian hinterland. (the film was shot in the US state.) Life drifts by hazily for its residents. Amongst them, often skating the empty streets at night, is The Girl (a wonderful Sheila Vand), a modern-day vampire whose hijab hides some impressive fangs. She has little time for the male wastrels of this dead-end land. But on encountering Arash (Arash Marandi), whose desire to escape this place are stymied by his addict father and an unpayable debt to a local dealer, The Girl becomes intoxicated by the young man’s insistence on mutual respect between the sexes.
Gorgeously shot in black and white, Amirpour’s Sundance hit gives a feminist spin on genre conventions to satisfying effect. If the locale and tone of the film echoes the early work of Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch, with more than a dash of David Lynch thrown in for good measure, the end result of Amirpour’s dizzying, hallucinatory film is very much down to her own brilliance as a filmmaker.