I first heard executive producer Elijah Wood mention “a black and white vampire film, shot entirely in Farsi called A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” in, I think, a promotional interview for Maniac like, two years ago. And then I somehow completely missed the opportunity to see it at the London Film Festival, like, one year ago. So the anticipation to seeing this film, as it slowly gathered more and more stellar reviews as it tried to get widespread distribution, was pretty intense. With such a build-up, it could only be absolute perfection or a total disappointment, right?
Well, not quite. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is good. But not great. It’s beautifully shot, with a really interesting mixture of Killer of Sheep-esque post-italian-neorealist aesthetics, gothic expressionist inflections and a considerably more modern Indiewood vibe. The soundtrack is great and it plays with the diegetic / non-diegetic binary in a way I’ve rarely seen happen. The horror element is sporadic but strong and the sound design is intense – most cinemas’ speakers have been really struggling to handle the bass. The only problem is the relatively 2-dimensional quality of most of the characters. The Girl announces at one point that she has “done many bad things,” but there is no real evidence for this – the promotions for this film say she “preys on men who disrespect women,” but then she goes and kills a rough sleeper for no reason whatsoever and traumatises a small boy who has done nothing wrong. However, despite these inconsistencies, it’s a fine film.
I do, despite disappointment I pretty much knew was coming, anticipate a second viewing. However, there is a strong chance that it might result in a lower rating.