A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

So Farsi, so good

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Dvd & blu- ray - Nick Setch­field

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.

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