I dearly want to see more from director and writer Ana Lily Amirpour, but for the moment I'll make do with vampire love story A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.
Set in Iran, this dark romance sees James Dean-ish Arash, poor son of a deadbeat junkie father, meet The Girl, on the desolate streets of Bad City. Arash first encounters her after a Halloween party; he shows up as Dracula and, in order to impress a rich girl he has a crush on, he takes some Ecstasy. Blitzed out of his mind, he gets lost, and finds The Girl, clad demurely in hijab. Except she isn't at all what she appears to be ...
There's so much I want to tell you, but don't dare, as it would spoil the effect. Much of this film's impact depends on imagery and sound, to the point where you have to wonder if Amirpour sold her soul to get some of those shots. So simple, so striking, so perfect. Shot entirely in black and white, the shadows alone remind you how effective a film without color can be. There's one shot in particular that makes good use of the hijab ... but again, I can't tell you. I wish I could!
Arash has plenty of problems which ought to make him sympathetic; his father's addiction, his grinding poverty, his conflicts with his father's drug dealer. Yet every so often we see a glimpse of the kind of angry, misanthropic loser he may one day become. His father's son, in fact. Whereas with The Girl, we know what she is from the off, but though she never claims to be anything other than bad, it's hard not to feel a little sympathy for this lonely night wanderer. The relationship between these two characters keep the movie alive; you want to know whether they'll make it, even if it's in spite of each other.
This film is Amirpour's theatrical debut. She describes it as a vampire spaghetti Western, and it employs many of the tricks those old sixties films used. Of Iranian descent, she was born in England and lived most of her life in the US, and though the setting may be Iran, the film's actually shot in California. The next one's to be set in Texas, featuring post-apocalypse cannibals. I can't wait!
Want to know more about this one? Check out its imdb page.