Ana Lily Amirpour’s startling debut wowed audiences at Sundance Film Festival premiere in 2014 and spawned other cinematic vampires both ironically self-aware (What We Do in the Shadows) and hipster-cool (Only Lovers Left Alive).
Announcing itself as the first Iranian vampire western, Amirpour’s take on the blood-sucking archetype is anything but prescriptive. For one thing, her vamp (Sheila Vand) is a sassy loner who roams the streets on a skateboard stolen from a kid. In her stripy shirt and ‘60s eyeliner she could be straight out of the Velvet Underground, the only difference being her bat-like chador flowing in the nocturnal breeze. The unsuspecting object of her affections is Arash (Arash Marandi), a handsome James Dean type. He is dealing with his own family issues and in the off-kilter world they inhabit, a touching and unconventional relationship develops.
Amirpour’s striking feature (shot in California) is set in a filmic universe so fully and atmospherically realised, you’d be forgiven for suspecting this was the work of a mid-career director. Inventive, assured and original, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night proves there is always room on any cinephile’s slate for a new instant-favourite filmmaker.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is referenced in Women Make Film in chapters Meet Cute, Conversations, Horror and Hell.