A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
So Farsi, so good
Release Date: 27 July
2014 | 18 | Blu- ray/ DVD Director: Ana Lily Amirpour Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Dominic Rains, Mozhan Marno, Rome Shadanloo
We neutered the vampire, didn’t we? We let the undead turn into pale objects of teenage desire or heritage industry totems, cosy as a snug, early hours watch of a vintage Hammer horror. Their essential dread and oddity became absorbed into the bloodstream of culture. No place now for the primal otherness that wormed through the pages of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Ana Lily Amirpour’s inky but luminous debut restores some welcome potency to the screen vampire. It’s a film imbued with a deep, dislocating sense of The Other: shot in Southern California, set in an Iranian ghost town, told in the Persian language of Farsi, it tilts, spins and fuses genre conventions, scraping away decades of cliché to make the myth feel fresh again.
Take its heroine, the kohl- eyed wraith moving through the ragged chain- link fences and tangible despair of Bad City. She’s draped in the traditional garment of the chador, her silhouette recalling the operatic billow of Christopher Lee’s cape but also connecting to a very contemporary Western distrust of the outsider. And the film knows the power of her iconography – your eye is always drawn to her, even when she’s out of focus, as hazy as an unspoken fear. In one shot she even looks like a hole in the frame itself.
Amirpour parades her influences. Shots of smoke- belching towers clearly homage David Lynch’s eye for industrial beauty. And there’s more than a touch of Jim Jarmusch in the off- kilter, deadbeat romance that unfolds alongside the horror.
But this is a new, fearsomely assured voice. Gorgeously photographed, immaculately soundtracked, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night resurrects the undead while declaring the arrival of a major new genre talent.
Extras: A behind- the- scenes documentary, an Amirpour and Vand interview, deleted scenes and a trailer. Plus, the Blu- ray comes complete with a graphic novel adaptation.
The Adam’s apple inspectors were round again.