This year's vampires are a whole new breed of cool, and the chador-wearing, skateboard-riding, baddie-biting heroine of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is like none other. The nameless heroine, played by Argo's Sheila Vand, cruises the dangerous streets of Bad City, fangs at the ready for whatever jerks come her way. But, when she meets the dreamy Arash (Arash Marandi), she's thrown for a loop.
Infused with cool, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is not your average vampire film. It's in black and white, it's in Farsi, and its artsy influences range from Spaghetti Westerns to Jim Jarmusch. Our titular girl wears striped shirts, lines her eyes with kohl, and dances to records in her bedroom. Vampires, they're just like us!
Plus, writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour is awesome. As she told Gawker, "I don't care how many fuckin' Ansel Adams photos you take of old people and try to tell me it's beautiful. It smells bad and shit's failing. You're rotting inside yourself, inside your own body…. [T]his is like a mating call. I made it for vampires out there. If you're out there, I'm down. I'm ready."
(Okay, so that last part was probably a joke, but read Amirpour's ode to Pulp Fiction in Wired if you need more proof of why she's a genius.)
"I don’t like talking about how to make films any more than I like talking about how I like to have sex. I can't talk anatomically about it because I just don’t think that way about filmmaking," she says. "Making movies is a sexual experience, and after you've had great sex you don’t really say, 'Then he put his hand here and it made me put my hand there….' You just say, 'It was like I was in the electric chair!' It's a search for magic."
Her next project is The Bad Batch, which she's described as "a post-apocalyptic cannibal love story set in a Texas wasteland." Specifically, "A muscled cannibal breaks the rule ‘don’t play with your food… It's Road Warrior meets Pretty in Pink with a dope soundtrack."
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is playing in NYC right now, and will open in other cities in January. If you only see one Iranian B&W vampire movie this year, make it this one.