AWFJ Movie of the Week, Nov. 17-23: A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT

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Opening Nov. 14, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the impressive feature debut of short filmmaker Anna Lily Armipour. It stars Sheila Vand as an enigmatic, hijab wearing vampire who, while stalking the mean streets of desolate Iranian town Bad City, makes a connection with fellow lost soul Arash (Arash Marandi) a young man who dreams of escaping the harsh confines of his life. Read on…

Billed as the first Iranian vampire Western, writer-director Armipour’s film certainly borrows heavily from the tropes of that genre, featuring as it does a lone stranger dolling out bloody vigilante justice to those deemed deserving. Shooting the film in California also gives it a distinctly US visual sensibility, while Marandi is more than a little reminiscent of that all-American icon, James Dean. But, narratively speaking, Armipour’s film delves far deeper, more specifically challenging the place of women in Middle Eastern society, where a woman walking home alone is the very definition of immorality. And it’s a message made all the more powerful by the absence of any overt social soapboxing; this is a film of hushed tones and enigmatic encounters.

Forget the pubescent wranglings of Twilight; together with Jim Jarmusch’s sumptuous, romantic odyssey Only Lovers Left Alive and Jemaine Clement’s and Taika Waititi’s hilarious spoof What We Do in the Shadows, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night marks an exciting new dawn for the vampire genre as an entirely adult proposition.

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:

Pam Grady: Blending horror, western, and an examination of gender politics, Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night promises to pump some new blood into the vampire genre.

Kristy Puchko: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a brave, bold and defiantly feminist brand of horror. It’s absolutely sensational.

Nell Minow: A Girl Walks Home at Night — an Iranian vampire western romance?  Sign me up!

Jennifer Merin: Suspenseful and smartly subversive, A Girl Walks Home at Night is a fantasy-filtered peek at the Iranian psyche behind the veil, focusing on a woman who takes control at first bite. In the scare department, it doesn’t miss a beat.

Film Details:

Title: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

Release Date: November 21, 2014

Running Time: 99 minutes

Language: Persian

Shooting Location: Taft and Bakersfield, CA

Principal Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh

Screenwriter: Ana Lily Amirpour

Production Company: Say Ahh Productions, SpectreVision, Logan Pictures, Black Light District

Distributor: Kino Lorber

Official Website

Trailer

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, MaryAnn Johanson, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Rebecca Murray, Kristy Puchko, Carrie Rickey, Sheila Roberts, Jeanne Wolf, Sara Vizcarrando.

Other Movies Opening the Week of Nov. 17-21, 2014:

November 20
– The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (p.m. screenings)

November 21
– A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (limited)
– Extraterrestrial (limited)
– The Mule (limited)
– Reach Me (limited)
– VHS: Viral (limited)

Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, AWFJ.org Associate Editor

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Nikki Baughan

Nikki Baughan is a London-based freelance film critic and features writer. Formerly editor of both Film Review and movieScope magazines, Nikki is currently contributes to various print and online publications, including Screen International, BFI, The List and Film Divider.