Hossein’s long-suffering son, Arash (Arash Marandi), is one of the few comparably good eggs wandering the town’s desolate sidewalks. Arash is the classic 50’s teen rebel to the Girl’s more indefinable shadow. Vand plays her both as worldly wise and playful youth; equally as steeped in Western culture as him, with evenings spent dancing around her minute flat to pop music. Largely eschewing narrative drive, it’s scenes like these that fulfil the film’s seductive atmosphere – its raison d’être. This is prevelant throughout the Girl’s initial acts of gender equalisation and becomes particularly evocative when a burgeoning love story between Arash and the Girl begins. Whilst proceedings are intentioanlly devoid of scares, the characters’ shared yearning to escape the allegorical oppression of Bad City is palpable.
Captured via DOP Lyle Vincent’s intoxicating monochrome photography, the action plays out in arch fashion with deadpan delivery accentuating the rich vein of devilish humour that’s the life blood of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Whether the ambiguous conclusion is a suggestion of hope or not, this deadly duo make for a painfully stylish slice of vampiric Iranian counter-culture. Though Amirpour’s tale of a malignant misanthrope may not comprehensively cater to either its arthouse or horror audiences, it is a confident debut whose seductive spell is difficult to resist.
The BFI London Film Festival takes place from 8-19 October 2014. For more of our coverage, simply follow this link.