Not rated | Time: 1:47
In Farsi with subtitles
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night“ is a wildly inventive Iranian vampire movie that grabs you by the throat with its dark, moody style, pulsating soundtrack and offbeat love story.
Director Ana Lily Amirpour won’t win screenplay-of-the-year honors — the plot and the characters are too thinly drawn — but every frame in this spellbinding pulp flick suggests that she is a filmmaker to watch.
The action centers on a young woman (Sheila Vand, very good) who is dining on the lowlifes (i.e. everyone) of Bad City, a wasteland of empty warehouses and barren streets. The only place with a pulse appears to be the nearby refinery.
When she is not out on the town, our vampire heroine sheds her shroud and listens to 1980s Euro pop in her hipster-like abode. She also develops a thing for a Persian heartthrob (Arash Marandi, also very good) who looks like he just stepped off the set of “Rebel Without a Cause.“
Influenced by spaghetti Westerns, Jim Jarmusch, comic books, Iranian culture, feminism, techno music and who knows what else, the California-based Amirpour blends this mishmash of elements into something we haven’t quite seen before. She also uses L.A. (quite effectively) as a stand-in for Iran, and opts for black and white photography (kudos to cinematographer Lyle Vincent for his outstanding work).
All this may sound outlandish — and it is — but it’s entertaining and provides the tired vampire genre with a welcome infusion of fresh blood.
(At the Tivoli)
| David Lewis
San Francisco Chronicle