28 March 2015 | Shadowplayed
Dead Girl Walking
This was one of the most anticipated art-house horror films. The fact it's done in Persian with Iranian director and crew absolutely peeks every filmophile's interest. Unfortunately, the hype surrounding it sometimes works against anticipated releases like this, but the wait was worth it.
A Girl Walks Home...was heavily influenced by Jim Jarmusch's aesthetic, like a love letter to this director. A vampire western with a touch of romance - something I haven't seen before. Let's see if this unusual combination worked... The last few years were great for vampire subgenre, reviving it with a few films that have became instant favorites and, in my opinion, deserve their place in film history.
Let The Right One In and Only Lovers Left Alive are notable examples, and now A Girl has joined them, forming fantastic trinity of style, ideas, cinematography and unparalleled atmosphere. Modern vampire subgenre works best in authentic urban surroundings, with as little action sequences as possible, focusing on loneliness, inner turmoil of the characters, existentialism and sometimes unlikely companionship between humans and vamps. A Girl has it all, adding extra cultural layer to these key ingredients.
Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive have set vampire tale in Western and Eastern world both, and A Girl... paints excerpts of Iranian life. (Although filmed in California) the rest is authentic. This black&white picture offers style and atmosphere, quiet, meditative and rarely violent, it's filled with music and shadows. There is a running thread of social commentary although the town and premise are fictional.
Mysterious titular 'Girl' in fictional town named 'Bad Town' stalks the residents quietly, watching them go about their routines, helping the weak and good, punishing the crooked and corrupt. We know absolutely nothing about The Girl, but there is a pattern...unlike women in Iran, she has a certain, albeit supernatural power, and she uses it to punish men who have bullied others and wallowed in vices. Even if I'm only reading into this, I thought this was liberating in the context of the culture that's old and rich but traditionally repressive against women.
However, The Girl is not some feminist vigilante fixing to destroy the mankind, just like Eli in Let the Right One In, she protects those in need. Unlike Eli, The Girl does not look for symbiotic relationship with disposable humans, the companionship she forms with Arash is of different nature. Big shout out to Masuka the cat, the talent and screen presence is fantastic and adorable. One lovely and immersing cinematic experience, bravo, Miss Amirpour!