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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.
5.0 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.7 / 5
MOVIE SCORE
Representation
Middle Eastern
Women

Incluvie Movie Critiques


Semoy Booker
December 24, 2021
5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

Revisiting 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night': The Vamp, the Shapeshifter, and the Hybrid

Vampires: are they human or bat? When facing hybridities we tend to question which binary they fall into. This is because binaries bring order into society. When the binary is crossed either between female/male, good/evil, human/non-human this causes hybridity, so categorizing people becomes complex and disorientating. When someone or something doesn’t fall into one of the binaries, the question becomes: what are they? One of the reasons A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a queer feminist film is because Amirpour strategically uses the metaphor of the vampire as a shapeshifter, hybrid, and ultimately, trans. There are many folklores of vampires taking multiple forms, such as having a human body with bat-like attributes. Therefore, the line between human and non-human is crossed. The trans allegory in the film isn’t solely dependent on The Girl a.k.a our caped vampire. While the vampire is a perfect trans allegory because vampires bend the binaries and The Girl dismantles patriarchal dominance in Bad City, she’s not the only hybrid in the film. The film itself is genre-hybridity—this means that different genres are being blended and shifted in the film—another trans allegory. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night mixes the horror, the spaghetti western, neo-noir, and the superhero genre.  Many spectators identify The Girl to be a vampire vigilante who stalks and feeds off of the bad men in Bad City. The truth is we don’t know what her endgame is—that’s what makes her a mysterious and frightening character. She’s a literal femme fatale but is she’s not hyper-feminine in order to lure men to be her prey. She uses many methods. The Girl is depicted as a predator for starters. She is known to walk the streets alone at night. She even stalks and mimics men’s movements to spook them off. We can argue that this is her way of letting people know that Bad City is hers, and anyone who thinks they can get away with dealing drugs or abusing women will be sorry. Then there’s the possibility of her just having fun. We get to know that The Girl isn’t always frightening as she looks. This is because we follow The Girl to her hideout where she dances to retro American music and she begins to develop an intimate friendship with a guy who also has demons of his own.  In short, there are moments where The Girl is like Batman, wearing a black cape-like chador and taking out the bad guys, with her fangs of course. But she’s a liminal entity meaning we can’t really place her in a category because she’s a complex and trans character. Do we really know if she’s good or bad, and how she determines who lives and who dies? One thing is for sure: someone who breaks boundaries and doesn’t wear a chador for religious reasons is fluid in every way.
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Marisa Jones
September 27, 2021
5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
4.5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

'A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night' Review: A Powerful (If Unintentional) Look At the Exploitation of Women

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, directed by Iranian filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour, follows a lonesome vampire, known only by the name of “The Girl”, as she stalks and preys upon men who exploit and take advantage of women in the fictional town of Bad City, Iran. The town, riddled with drugs and prostitution, is full of men who abuse their power over women. Throughout the film, The Girl seeks out these men and kills them as a means of protecting the women of Bad City, namely Atti, a prostitute who is repeatedly taken advantage of by the men of Bad City. The Girl’s life takes a dramatic shift, however, when she meets Arash, a local boy and the son of a junkie that The Girl eventually takes as one of her victims. Arash, unlike the other men in Bad City, gains the trust and respect of The Girl, and the two slowly fall for one another, though Arash remains oblivious to her being a vampire. Through this occasionally horrific and occasionally romantic story, Amirpour sparks an important discussion on the treatment and objectification of women by men, particularly within Iran. Dressed in a chador for the majority of the film, The Girl uses her unassuming nature and perceived weakness as an asset to her. Her first victim in the film is a drug dealer and pimp, Saeed, who starts off the movie by pressuring and taking advantage of Atti. After getting him alone, The Girl gains Saeed’s trust before attacking him by biting off his finger and proceeding to drink his blood until he is dead. A pattern like this continues throughout the film, both before and after The Girl meets Arash. Even men who have not harmed women—such as a young boy that The Girl warns against being bad, saying she will come for him one day if he is—are not exempt from The Girl’s vengeance. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Nightis, by all appearances, a movie meant to be about women reclaiming power, and an analysis of the imbalances between men and women and the gendered violence that women often face. It’s impossible to watch the film without a feminist lens, because the plot in and of itself is inherently feminist in the sense that the story relies on women taking a stand against a patriarchal system. Though A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night appears, by all means, as an intentional critique of misogyny and gendered violence, this is not necessarily what Amirpour had in mind. The director has stated in an interview with Gawker that she didn’t go into the movie with the idea that it would be a feminist film—rather, she believes that “people tend to see themselves in films…you feel that because it’s stuff you have in you”. Though it may be surprising that the film wasn’t written through a feminist lens, that doesn’t necessarily take away it’s merit as a feminist movie; as stated by Amirpour, individuals—in this case, women specifically—take from the film what strikes them as the most relevant. As the ongoing battle for women’s rights in Iran (and globally) continues, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a breath of fresh air to those looking for a movie where women have the power in their hands. The Girl is not a victim, nor is she passive—her decisions drive the movie, and without her actions, the story would have no depth. Despite being unintentional, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a brilliant example of feminism in film. All of the violence in the movie is gender based—men exploiting and abusing women for their own pleasure, while the women are expected to sit back passively. Whenever women are in danger, The Girl sweeps in (on her skateboard stolen from the young boy she warned against being bad) to put a stop to it. The Girl is aware that Atti, the prostitute, is unhappy, and is being mistreated by men who take advantage of her every day. In rebellion against this, The Girl both kills the men harming Atti, and gives back to Atti by collecting and distributing the valuable possessions of the men she has killed. The film breaks down societal rules and expectations of gender, and can easily be viewed as a critique of the abuse of power that inevitably comes when men are prioritized and protected over women within a society. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is all about women reclaiming their power—whether or not this was intentional.—in a world that relentlessly tries to take it away from them. An important detail towards the beginning of the film that solidifies the idea that The Girl’s killings are gender based is a stack of bodies, all which appear to be male, dead in a large ditch that Arash passes by. These actions are clearly a pattern, and it is not coincidental that the killings shown explicitly in the film are solely men. The Girl, whether consciously or not, uses her abilities to take down those men who assume that their power is limitless—and though this is partly a love story, this aspect feels unimportant compared to the other messages that the film is communicating to its audience. The love story of The Girl and Arash is subtle, and her relationship with Atti feels just as vital to the movie as her relationship with Arash does. One specific scene, in which The Girl and Atti dispose of the body of Arash’s father, is striking because of its simplicity that still speaks volumes; violence against women is normalized, but the film communicates to the audience that just because of this normalization, this violence doesn’t have to be accepted. There will always be misogyny integrated into society, butA Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
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Movie Information


In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.

Rating:
Genre:Horror, Romance
Directed By:Ana Lily Amirpour
Written By:Ana Lily Amirpour
In Theaters:11/21/2014
Box Office:$395,000
Runtime:99 minutes
Studio:Black Light District, Say Ahh Productions, SpectreVision, Logan Pictures, Vice Studios, Kino Lorber

Cast