A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

Not since the tag team of Tarantino and Rodriguez has a filmmaker laid bare their inner most workings of hobbies and film heroes to this extent. First time feature director Ana Lily Amirpour has done just that with this American-Iranian melting pot, distilling her infectious personality in 100 minutes.

Like a string of photographs set in motion, lit for maximum shadows, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night taps into the ubiquity of the American indie spirit, with whiffs of Jim Jarmusch in the suburban shots and moody lighting. The striking location work of Bad City, a post-industrial ghost town where bodies rot in ditches, is extenuated in black and white. It’s a breeding ground of misfits and delinquents, and it’s telling that the actors are billed with archetypes: ‘The Pimp’, ‘The Junkie’, ‘The Girl’.

The Girl (Sheila Vand) is Nosferatu reimagined in her black hijab, striking an eerie beauty in shots channelling German expressionism, with her blood smeared mouth and dark make-up, half in and out of shadow, or rising from the bath like Orlok from his coffin. The Junkie (Marshall Manesh) is in the hallucinogenic throes of junk withdrawal, and a burden on his son, Arash (Arash Marandi). Arash is neither rebel and not quite delinquent, instead he's a despondent portrait of American cool: bequiffed, leathered, and in jeans and a white tee. The kind of denim clad hip now only found in old movies, photo archives or fragrance adverts.

The cinematography frequently juxtaposes natural images with the grungy machines in states of decay. Every frame is knowingly and self-consciously shot, with the influence of Sergio Leone in the long shots, wide angles and close ups; the gothic and the art house straddle the spaghetti westerns Amirpour was weaned on. Taken just as disjointed vignettes, it's a series of lingering shots like those where The Girl shadows The Junkie from across the street, or when she skateboards towards the camera, her hajib fluttering cape-like behind her.

Amirpour has loved and lived with the story, basing the feature on her graphic novel of the same name, and developed in the 2011 short she toured around the festival circuit. The storytelling is subtle, working on image, suggestion and the nuanced performances of its cast. In short, this is the definitive version of her vision. The meandering soundtrack is testament to her own eclectic music collection, boasting Iranian rock group Kiosk alongside English post-punk outfit White Lies. It’s all underpinned by unsettling Lynchian soundscapes fizzing in the background din.

AGWHAAN is a meditation on gender politics, rape culture and the danger the title entails, both domestically and globally. Its feminist subtext debates toxic masculinity and its reach, with The Girl an exacting and primal force on men who have wronged women. Not since Let the Right One In has a vampire film so effortlessly challenged and changed the zeitgeist. It's no coincidence that both films exist well outside of the US and the Hollywood genre malaise. Its style and complexities may have won you over, but the behind the scenes documentary will make you fall for Amirpour as much as her debut feature.

Special Features: Behind the scenes documentary / Interviews / Trailer

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ANA LILY AMIRPOUR / STARRING: SHEILA VAND, MARSHALL MANESH, ARASH MARANDI, DOMINIC REINS / RELEASE DATE: JULY 27TH


 


Suggested Articles:
After the Battles Without Honour and Humanity series, director Kinji Fukasaku remained with the Yaku
The Climber is from the period Joe Dallesandro spent in Europe during the 1970s making movies after
Described by Samuel Beckett himself as an “interesting failure”, the 21-minute Film is the Nobel
She’s back! Evil is reborn as Samara, the creepy dead kid in a well who crawls out of the TV scree
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

COPS VS. THUGS 25 May 2017

THE CLIMBER 24 May 2017

FILM / NOTFILM 23 May 2017

RINGS 22 May 2017

HEADSHOT 22 May 2017

AN AMERICAN TAIL 22 May 2017

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS 20 May 2017

XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE 20 May 2017

POWER RANGERS DINO CHARGE: UNLEASHED (VOLUME 1) 20 May 2017

YU-GI-OH! THE MOVIE: DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS 20 May 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner