Ana Lily Amirpour's A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
A movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
In a decrepit Iranian small town called "Bad City" this black and white vampire romance plays out around themes of drug addiction, blunted desire, and prostitution.
Watching it one has the feeling of floating through the night surrounded by blackness and urban desolation. The main character is the Girl who walks around at night clad in a long flowing chador that at times swirls around her like a cape, especially when she rides a stolen skateboard down the middle of a deserted street at night. I was constantly reminded of Miyazaki's "No-Face" from Spirited Away, an image that I could not shake as the movie progressed.
The movie is slow going in parts and sometimes difficult to follow. The subtitles translate the spoken Farsi but are sparse enough to not always provide a clear idea of what is going on. The girl/vampire is simultaneously alive and detached. She shows signs of kindness but one can tell that, as a vampire, she has lived long, seen a lot, and has grown weary of us crazy humans, especially the crazy humans that live in Bad City.
But she is not so tired that she spurns the attentions of the young man who is eager to escape the depressing reality of Bad City. Unsmiling she may be but she drives away with him into the night.
The photography, scene composition, and lighting in this black and white movie are simply gorgeous. Light, shadow, and inky blackness are just as much characters as the people. Despite the seediness and gritty desolation of Bad City, some images are beautiful. Very impressive overall.
Review copyright (c) 2016 by Dennis D. McDonald