Saturday, January 17, 2015

Scene in '15: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

The hammer 1.13.15
Let me tell you guys, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night may just be my new favorite film. I had the pleasure of seeing a screening at the Hammer Museum as part of their The Contenders series and there was a Q&A with director Ana Lily Amirpour following.  For those who haven't heard about it yet, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is an Iranian vampire western set in "Bad City." The story focuses on Arash, a young guy living with his heroin addicted father, and the Girl, a vampire.

The one image that stuck with me, just from seeing the trailer before I even saw the film, is of the Girl in a chador skateboarding down the street. In the Q&A Amirpour said that the idea for the film came to her when she put on the chador and immediately felt like a badass, and that the first thing she wanted was to be on a skateboard and feel it billowing out around her. She said that her next thought was the Iranian vampire idea, that obviously it would be this way because the Girl would be the last person anyone expected.

At several points in the Q&A Amirpour referred to the film as a fairytale, and I felt like the black & white coloring really adds to that element and makes the film timeless in a way. (Also, as a sidenote black and white was such a cool stylistic choice for the movie. Eliminating the color turns the focus towards the lighting, and I loved the way the film played with light and shadow.) Even though Arash drives a classic car and dresses almost rockabilly in a white tee and jeans, there are cds in the characters rooms and at one point Arash and the Girl dance to a New Wave song. That combination of dated elements come together to make the film feel almost removed from time, like a fairytale. The landscape also adds to the fairytale feel. Bad City is almost a ghost town, in the shadow of the oil rigs. It carries this intense loneliness that you can feel in every character.

I'm enamored with this film. I think when you hear "Iranian vampire spaghetti western" it feels like maybe the film is going to get lost in all those genres but it doesn't at all. They all come together so organically to tell this story, and the end result is amazing. Also, if anyone knows how I can get a still of the image of the Girl skating away please email me because I need that hanging on my wall.

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