A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night - NZFF Review
Ultra-stylish, sleek, sonorous and sensuous, A Girl Walks Home At Night is a definite must at this year's New Zealand International Film Festival.
Set in the mythical Iranian ghost town of Bad City, this film sets out its store with its very first few shots. A James Dean-esque character lounges by a shed, as if modelling for a catalogue, before swooping in and stealing a cat and driving off in his car.
But this character is Arash, and his world is conflicted; his father is addicted to drugs, his debt to a dealer is close to being cashed in with the ultimate price to pay if the money is not forthcoming. However, Arash's world is changed when he meets up with a victim of the vamp in a veil (Sheila Vandi) who stalks the street at night - to say more would be to spoil it.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is from first-time director Lily Amirpour and her cinematic concoction is an intoxicating one.
Pristine monochrome visuals, affected with ease and afflicted with visually expressive shots are striking, leaving the viewer feeling like they're witnessing something iconic being born. The Blancanieves style aesthetic mixes with Jarmuschian sensibilities, and the whole thing's swathed in a Tom Waits glow, as the soundtrack crackles with hipsterish intent and sonorous simplicity. (In fact at times, with careful and considered direction and precisely choreographed moments, it feels like a music video, swathed in romance and cool)
Described by Amirpour as a cross between Sergio Leone and David Lynch, A Girl Walks Home At Night is like a Wild West of yore, but struck with louche expectations, rather than continual showdowns. A languid pace helps the shocks which come few and far between but renders them exceptionally effective. However, the director never loses her flair for visuals and comedy - where else can you expect to see a veiled vamp skateboarding down an empty street but this year's New Zealand International Film Festival?
Simply put, this rich vein of vamp bursts with ingenuity and charisma; it's a film that aches and deserves to be loved, it's a dreamy dance with the devil and it's spell-binding viewing.