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In recent weeks, I viewed the art house film, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”. In case you haven’t heard of it, this Ana Lily Amirpour directed movie received a lot of buzz for being a Farsi-language (which is the main tongue of Iran) art house flick about a vampire in a Western-style city. In fact, the movie’s tagline is “The first Iranian Vampire Western”.

Click here to learn more at IMDB.com

Click here to learn more at IMDB.com

Even though the film is done in Farsi, it was not shot in Iran. Instead, it was made here in the United States by a cast and crew of Iranian heritage. That is quite obvious when you see the sex scenes and female nudity. I mean, this is not a movie that the Ayatollah would approve of!

“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is about a fictional place called Bad City. And bad is the best word to describe it. Drug dealing, spousal abuse, prostitution, and just general unhappiness and misery all around. Having the film shot in black and white seems to add to the sadness of Bad City, along with the artsy intentions of the director.

But while the residents of Bad City are dealing with their unhappiness, they seem unaware of a particular young woman who is by herself at night. They might notice her, because this is supposed to be Iran, and in that country, a young woman being by herself at that hour is taboo. She may be up to no good. And this girl is. She’s a vampire.

But she’s no evil vampire. Instead, the young woman seems to use her thirst for blood as a way to punish those in Bad City who hurt others. She kills and drinks from the drug dealers, the pimps and all others who abuse women. Come to think of it, this characterization of a female vampire seems to be a trend with the genre. The film, Byzantium, had something similar. And one of my author buddies, Francis Franklin, wrote a book that had the same idea. It’s like female vampires are the new female warriors against male oppression, and other injustices from patriarchal societies.

At the center of “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is Arash, a young man who’s father shoots up heroin, owes money and abuses his girlfriend. The vampire watches this very closely, and it is while she’s watching that Arash meets her and falls in love. She becomes a beacon of light for him in his unhappy existence in an unhappy place. This is rather unusual yet touching vampire romance, although the love story is a secondary storyline here. Arash is basically a rebel in Bad City in a sense that he yearns to escape its misery and live a better life.

Overall, the film is about how rough Bad City is and how this vampire (who has no name) uses her vampire ways to bring justice. It’s an artsy, indie flick that brings together Iranian social issues, vampire fascination, and classic American flicks about teenage rebellion. It doesn’t have a driving storyline, but it is interesting to watch. The real catch is the Iranian aspect of the film, which why it received such a buzz among indie flicks recently. For one thing, I liked how the vampire’s chador seems to represent both Iran’s strict clothing laws for women, and the capes traditional vampires wear. It’s actually a cool combination when you think about it.

I recommend this film if you like foreign language flicks, indie art-house style films, and a feminist take on female vampires. If you love cinematography, you’d love this film. But if you are looking for a driving storyline with intense climaxes and drama, you won’t see too much of that here. But it is something different from many vampire and Iranian films out there, so this may be a movie worth watching for you!