Opening 23 Apr 2015
Arash (Arash Marandi) lives with his drug-addicted father Hossein in Bad City, which is a run-down fantasy city of empty streets where everyone is either victim or perpetrator and there is no law or order. To Arash’s dismay Hossein gives his Ford Thunderbird car to drug dealer Saeed for accumulated debts. Arash tries to retrieve the car and has a run-in with Saeed, who is accompanied by Atti, a 30-year-old prostitute. Arash goes to a costume party dressed as Dracula – very fitting, since the film is in black and white and there is a threatening atmosphere throughout. He goes home with Shaydah, a rich girl for whom he has done gardening work. She gives him a pill and he finds himself out on the sidewalk, alone. Later he tells his father to either move out or stop taking drugs. Hossein moves out with the cat and goes to Atti. Interspersed throughout these events, Arash often meets a strange girl (Sheila Vand) dressed in a chador and riding a skateboard – always at night. She is the lone voice of justice and looks out for others. Soon Arash falls for her and gives her some earrings. She asks him to pierce her ears, which is a ticklish situation, as this girl is a vampire, and blood plays a definite role in her world.
At first glance, this would be a film for teenagers, but the dealer, prostitute and father all play important parts. It’s definitely worth your time, just to become acquainted with director Ana Lily Amirpour, an Iranian who lives in the U.S. This is her first full-length film. She showed her first short film at the Berlinale 2011 and was a student in the Berlinale Talent Campus, which promoted her work. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night takes place in the Persian language, supposedly in Iran, but was actually filmed in California. It showed in at least 35 festivals, beginning with Sundance 2014. Amirpour considers the music to be especially important as she was also singer and bass guitar player in a band. There is little text and the dark atmosphere is almost a character in its own right. Lead actor Arash Marandi lives in Hamburg, where he studied acting; he appeared on stage in Hamburg at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus und Kampnagel. (Becky Tan)