“A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” was one of Sundance 2014’s sweetest surprises, a confident widescreen, black-and-white Farsi-language all-American debut, a bracing post-punk blend of vampire iconography, the spaghetti western, Kaurismäki-like sorrowfulness, Jarmusch-worthy equipoise, shot in Bakersfield, California, which passes for the nocturnal reaches “Bad City,” Iran. Ana Lily Amirpour’s politically suggestive feature debut is ripe with eye-widening joy from its first frames, its pacing alternately languorous and coiled, the graphic-novel-like imagery emerging and evolving with surrealist stealth. In Amirpour’s own excitable words about her tender, melancholy achievement, “It’s like Sergio Leone and David Lynch had an Iranian rock ‘n’ roll baby, and then Nosferatu came and babysat for them.” Amirpour also has a fantastic ear for music that elevates even the drowsiest, dreamiest passages. With Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Mozhan Marno, Dominic Rains, Milad Eghbali, Rome Shadanloo, Marshall Manesh and Reza Sixo Safai as “The Rockabilly.” 99m. (Ray Pride)
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” opens January 2, 2015 at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.