A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Special Collector's Edition Blu-ray)
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Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps, and other sordid souls, is a place that reeks of death and hopelessness, where a lonely vampire is stalking the towns most unsavory inhabitants. But when boy meets girl, an unusual love story begins to blossom...blood red.
The first Iranian Vampire Western, Ana Lily Amirpour's debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave. Amped by a mix of Iranian rock, techno and Morricone-inspired riffs, its airy, anamorphic, black-and-white aesthetic and artfully drawn-out scenes combine the simmering tension of Sergio Leone with the surrealism of David Lynch.
Special Features: Behind-the-Scenes Footage, Collectible Graphic Novels with essay by Eric Kohn, Deleted Scenes, Q&A Hosted by Roger Corman at the Hammer Museum, part of MoMA's Contenders Series. Stills Gallery, Trailer, VICE Behind-the-Scenes Documentary, VICE Meets Ana Lily Amirpour and Sheila Vand
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Top Customer Reviews
However, the coolest thing about the movie is getting to see the vampire skateboarding down deserted streets with her hijab trailing after her like a cape.
If you are a student of film - or just a movie buff like me - I recommend watching DRACULA'S DAUGHTER (1936), NADJA (1994), and A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014) as a triple feature some dark night.
As I said, the setting is intriguing. I loved the strange mix of Iranian culture and 1950s Americana. The two opposing ideas meet in Bad City, creating a perfect backdrop for conflict to unfold. Also, the film gets major points for the visual reference to Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the very end.
The art style is very simple. Many movies try to be artsy by shooting black and white, but I rarely feel the black and white is necessary (Nebraska). Here I felt that it was justified. The lack of color creates a striking contrast that helps to highlight their superb character designs. The Girl is so iconic, I feel like she could be a logo for their production company. Seeing her as just a black triangle gliding down the street on a skateboard was one of the best images in the movie. I wish they’d used the skateboard a little bit more.
The storytelling here is top-notch. I say story-“telling” but they don’t overtly tell you anything. They show everything, never relying on lazy exposition through dialogue. Each scene feels almost like a time lapse, showing the characters slowly morph into something new without a need for any dialogue.
I have to highlight two of my favorite scenes. The first is when the Girl rides home on her skateboard for the first time, black cloth billowing behind her. Without a single word they establish through image that she’s a dark, unconventional superhero, flying away to scare someone else into being a good kid or to stop another injustice in Bad City. While she clearly protects women as a priority, I’m going to suggest a theory of mine. Judging by her manner of dress compared to everyone else, I think she may be protecting traditional Iranian values from the influx of 1950s Americana. This of course creates conflict when she becomes fascinated with a man (the protagonist) who could easily be the moody Iranian version of Fonzie.
The second scene occurs when the protagonist and the titular Girl go back to her apartment. Without any kissing or cheesy sex scenes or awkward dialogue, we see the development and growth of their budding relationship right before our eyes. The Protagonist glides up behind her, slowly moving closer and closer along with the hypnotic music. Just as slowly, the girl turns around. We see her make the decision to leave him alive as she bares his neck but then leans her head on his chest. We see a visual metamorphosis of the characters as they both make life-altering decisions, without any dialogue required.
The movie isn’t without flaws. The pacing is very slow. While I loved many of the scenes that take their time to develop, there were a few that I felt could have been shorter. This film definitely isn’t for everyone and could come off as boring and pretentious. You’ll be disappointed if you come in expecting blood and guts. You might even be disappointed if you come in expecting another Babadook. But if you want to watch a simple and elegant picture about unique characters developing against a backdrop of subtle horror, this is the film for you.
It's a vampire story set in an alternate universe that looks like barren, poor, poverty stricken post-industrial America, but where everyone speaks Farsi, and our anti-heroine wears a chador while skateboarding through the night. While there are a lot of genres being toyed with here (spegetti westerns come strongly to mind more than once), at heart it's an odd, sort-of love story between a feminist avenger vampire and a lost young guy who is burned out with caring for his heroin-addict father (a much older parent drug addict is only one of the many cliché breaking elements of the story).
Clearly touched by David Lynch and echoing early Jim Jarmusch (though in an interview on the disc Amirpour says with charming and very funny candor that she’s not a fan of Jarmusch), this is really exciting new cinema that may have been inspired by forerunners, but has a voice all it’s own. For a while, I’ve felt I never really needed to see another vampire film. How many variations can there be? Well, this proved me dead wrong. I can’t wait for her next film!
The Kino collector's edition blu-ray has a ton of terrific extras (including an entire graphic novel by Amirpour) and it looked amazing on my home screen. Professional video review sites were split between those who flat-out loved the image, and those who see flaws. But for me, the images were rich and powerful, and none of the problems the more mixed technical reviews sighted crossed my mind or caught my eye.
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A mysterious girl walks the streets at night, punishing the wicked and protecting the good in the Iranian town Bad City, a cesspool of pimps, thieves,...Read more
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