Sep 28, 2016

IMDb: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Stars: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh

I love foreign cinema and I’ve seen many great pieces of work throughout the years. Battle Royal, Old Boy, I Saw The Devil and countless others that aren’t on the top of my mind right now. There has been a film circulating online for about two years and I had heard a lot about it but I never watched it until recently seeing it available on Netflix. After having it on my watch list for so long I decided to watch it, that film is A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.


Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is her directorial debut. Amirpour’s thriller, suspense, love story is an art house film. Many people would classify the “art house” definition as cliche or overrated when talking about indie films but this movie is truly a visual experience which relies more on the environment and character study of two complete strangers in a city called “Bad City.”

Bad City is symbolic in name as it is a run of the mill trashed place filled with poverty, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing operating 24/7 except power plants. The people of this so called city are drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, and drug addicts doing anything to shoot up a needle.

What I really loved about this film was the silence and interactions between characters. As a viewer you don’t have the slightest clue of who the young girl is played by Sheila Vand, but by analyzing her as she appears in various parts throughout the film preying on victims (I won’t give that away watch and find out what she does it’s a powerful social commentary especially since this is an Iranian film) she means business and is a silence and deadly type.

The black and white cinematography is purely fantastic, the lighting adds to the story and really shows light-hearted moments in the presence of love and dark moments when “the girl” as we will call her does her routines. A lot of emphasis is put on the set pieces of the scenery and as a viewer you can tell a lot about a persons traits by being around their usual environment. Amirpour is a genius with her use of set pieces, everything around these characters tells a story, objects have a greater importance, as do the characters themselves. The Director really makes you think instead of giving you constant dialogue that could give away what’s going on in the situation. There’s a lot of nice tracking shots, high angle shots, close up shots, all visually artistic and meaningful. With or without speech, body language is the key here, so you have to be in the accurate mindset to watch this. The editing is great, all the compositions are very well put together, and while I don’t want to give much away, in the beginning when Arash is walking with a certain pet, and the Iranian music becomes distorted like a bad broken record it gave me the chills which became a tone of the film from start to finish.

The soundtrack to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a unique mix of traditional Middle Eastern music as well as 80’s music. TheĀ  music is a tribute to the time, and “the girls” room is totally nostalgic.

If you are an explorer of foreign cinema watch this movie but understand that this isn’t going to be a bloody gore fest, the pacing slowly builds the tension and suspense.

Most definitely watch this film.