Genre – World Cinema > Arthouse Horror
Run Time – 113 minutes
Certificate – 1
Country – USA/Iran
Awards – 7 Wins & 22 Nominations
Amazon – £5.99 DVD £7.38 Blue Ray
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So, A Girl Walks Home Alone, billed as the first vampire story to be set in a Middle-Eastern setting. It was actually shot in Taft, California and so no guerilla filmmaking behind the backs of the oppressive Iranian state going Mullahs on show here folks, which kind of takes the edge off it.
Our vampire is female and does her business under the veil late at night and so a less than subtle statement on religious dress Muslims are forced to wear there. She is also a vampire that watches her subjects over a life time and decides to kill them on amoral judgment when she is ready, not dissimilar to the Iranian all powerful all seeing religious cleric state.
There are a significant amount of Iranians in California after they fled there after the Iranian Revolution and so plenty of ex pats ready to make comment about the Muslim state through film and art. Relations had improved under Obama and the Iranian film ‘A Separation’ won the Oscar for Best Film in a Foreign Language but Trump has kind messed that up. 2000 people a year in Iran are publicly hanged for all manner of crimes to keep the people in line
• Sheila Vand as The Girl
• Arash Marandi as Arash
• Marshall Manesh as Hossein
• Dominic Rains as Saeed
• Mozhan Marnò as Atti
• Rome Shadanloo as Shaydah
• Masuka as the cat
A young, handsome and hardworking blue collar Iranian man named Arash (Arash Marandi) lives with and takes care of his heroin-addicted father, Hossein (Marshall Manesh). They are leaned on by a nasty, drug-dealer pimp named Saeed (Dominic Rains), who takes Arash cool prized classic American car in exchange for the money owed by his pop.
Arash is a gardener and works for a rich woman called Shaydah (Rome Shadanloo). Desperate, he steals a pair of diamond earrings from her bedroom to fund his dads habit.
The pimp is out and about controlling his girls and selling drugs when he comes across a strange young woman (Sheila Vand) in a black full length chador veil late at night. He invites her back to his lavish apartment, a bad decision, Saeed’s time to go as she bites off his finger and then goes for his neck. As she leaves the pad, she passes by Arash, who has come to offer the earrings for his car. He finds Saeed dead and so takes back his car along with the drugs and cash. He has no idea how Saeed died or who killed him but glad its over.
Arash dresses up as Dracula to go to a night club party where he is persuaded by Shaydah into popping some ecstasy pills. This is not a come on by her, alas, as he wanders Iranian suburbia alone and stoned, lost at night on the streets.
The vampire woman appears normal in the day time and spends her time listening to music alone in her apartment in western dress until the night falls. Tonight she comes across the lost Arash. He shows vulnerability and compassion and so not about to be vampire food. She takes sympathy on him and leads him to her home, an attraction of sorts, where they listen to music, and she resists his exposed neck. The next night they meet he gives her the earrings and – at her request – pierces her ears with a safety pin, but she eventually leaves.
Atti (Mozhan Marnò a prostitute who worked for the pimp, is followed at night by the vampire, and they retreat to the prostitute's apartment. But the prostitute will live another night as no sin in her heart but just emptiness.
The newly empowered Arash gives his dad the drugs and money and throws him out. Hossein goes to Atti and forces her to take heroin with him. Bad idea…
I wasn’t enthused by this as much as the hype but still an interesting and emotive movie. The subtitles are few and far between and so no issue there and well acted by the mix of American and Iranian cast, Sheila Vand the star of A Separation, of course.
The film is shot in black & white and has a 1950s feel to it and the Californian locations strangely convincing as night time Tehran. Not that we know what night time Tehran looks like, the point, I guess. We do know drug use is significant in Iran and every aspect of this film has some sort of subversive meaning or statement on Iran.
It’s certainly atmospheric and stylish and has its own impressive and original look. It’s not gory or sexual in anyway and deliberately conservative to make those points on oppressive Iran. The appeal is all about its originality. It also uses music well to increase the mood of its message and as far as a message about Iran it does that subtly and cleverly. It’s fair to say they would not be allowed to make this film in Iran. There is no mention of vampires in the Koran.
It’s worth a look if you enjoy word cinema although not one for horror fans as it’s not a horror film. It’s very much in the trendy school film making school with every shot framed immaculately by first time female director Lily Amirpour. There is a comfortable feminist swagger to it and they know they have made something different although a skateboarding female vampire is perhaps a little too cool for school but at last Iranians are allowed to skateboard. All the men are two dimensional and stunted and a film that screams women’s emancipation in Iran. Female directors tend to be like that.
Imdb.com – 7.0/10.0 (21,456votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 95% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 81% critic’s approval
Guardian –‘This film is just occasionally a bit too cool for school - but mostly just cool enough, which is very cool/.
Sight & Sound –‘The film is so stylishly shot, and performed with such swagger, that it transcends its own pretentiousnes;,
The Anchorag Press –‘A Girl is not the first vampire movie in Farsi, but Amirpour made it into something unique. The Girl is a vampire everyone can relate to, and if given the chance, run away with’.
The Sun –‘Amirpour's debut feature is striking and excellent, though sometimes too self-congratulatory and too much in love with its cultural references. But one thing is for sure; Amirpour is on her way to becoming a great director.
Indepndent –‘Amirpour, a singer and DJ, uses the soundtrack throughout with such verve and rhythm that the film moves towards being a musical’.,
Little White Lies –‘Like a mosaic of shimmering fragments that do not compose a bigger picture, Ana Lily Amirpour's debut feature brims with stylised qualities that have been prioritised over story and character/
I was invited to a recital about a month back. Well after choking back the laughter and sniggers I (humbly) agreed to go. So off we went to the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. The Prestigious venue is situated off Deansgate, near Manchester town hall and overlooks the GMEX centre on one side and the re-developed canal basin on the other. Since its opening in 1996, the Bridgewater Hall has become a significant part of Manchester’s modern landscape as well as evolving into an international attraction. Back in ’96, it was the first major civic construction project in Manchester for over 60 years and is another step in the quest for Manchester to be recognised as a cultural and commercial centre of international repute. I don’t know of anyone that has been there and has failed to be impressed by the sight of the Bridgewater Hall. It is truly stunning. Given that most people travel regularly and see wonderful sights around the world, this is high praise indeed for Manchester. Nothing is without a price of course. In this case, £42 million will buy you a state-of-the-art concert hall, which boasts a 2340 seat auditorium! In order to justify these immense building and maintenance costs, the Hall must appeal to a wide audience in terms of tastes and wallets! Like all good venues, the Bridgewater Hall hosts Community Workshops and exhibitions, Jazz, Comedy, Classical Pieces and Easy Listening stuff such as Barry Manillow! The Bridgewater Hall is: The home of The Halle Orchestra - Britain's longest established professional symphony orchestra. The Halle present around 130 concerts a year in Manchester and around the globe. A performing base for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra - Last night of the proms etc. The home of Manchester Camerata - The leading chamber orchestra of the NorthWest. As you would expect in such a venue, the sound quality was amazing. The music filled th
e room and seemed to come from everywhere and no where at once (maybe you had to be there, maybe it was the medication!?)Acoustic superiority is due to the way that the Bridgewater Hall was constructed; it was built entirely on springs (this ensures that performances are not affected by vibrations from nearby traffic). The focus of the Bridgewater Hall is the organ. It is truly a sight to behold! It was hand crafted in Denmark and took nearly 2 years to build and assemble. All for a measly £1.2. The impressive erection is over 42 feet high by 45 feet wide and weighs a sturdy 22 tons. Despite being overawed by its magnificence, I can’t forget though that one another level; the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester is also a symbol of wanton extravagance. There is a “piece of art” out front named The Ishinki Touchstone in reality all it is a huge smoothed pebble. A huge that pebble that cost us £200,000! That certainly is NOT music to my ears. Have we really paid £42 million pounds to hear to hear some bloke in a penguin suit play the piano or some bird reach notes so high that she breaks your glasses? Undoubtedly some people will prefer Kareoke. Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3WS. Tel: +44 (0)161 907 9000. Car Parking and adequate disabled access. Prices and times will vary.