Friday, February 06, 2015

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Some films are must-sees not because of what they achieve, but because of what they are.

Truth is, I didn't think A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night achieved THAT much, cinematically. Its language and tone is more or less that of Jim Jarmusch, though it avoids some of his occasionally off-putting cutesiness. And its story, while interesting enough, is fairly slight, nothing that compelling. Still, I think anyone who follows this blog should go see it. I wrote when I reviewed it during the VIFF awhile back that the film seemed to be "about changing roles for women in Iran, coupled with a mistrustful ambivalence about what, for purposes of simplicity, I will call 'the west.' I imagine it can never be shown in Iran - there's female nudity, for one, and pretty frank depictions of prostitution, drug addiction, and other 'that-happens-in-Iran?' kinda things; hell, there's even a fellatio scene! But some of its images - the female vampire skateboarding down a sidewalk - are pretty indelible, and the film is undeniably successful at what it attempts. I saw it after a hard day at work, and found myself fighting the 'movie nap,' so I did miss a few things, like: was the gully filled with corpses ever even explained? But I liked it, I liked it."

It's been awhile since I wrote that, and I must confess, the film has not lingered much in my mind. I haven't picked it up on video, don't think about it very often. In fact, the most striking impression that remains is of the transgressive quality that I mentioned above. I mean, you don't really imagine Iranians hanging out in basement suites listening to Joy Division, do you? Well, I don't. If the film weren't a representation of life in Iran, I would probably say it was cute but negligible, but the Iranian dimension makes it a must-see. I have seen no other signs of a cinema quite like this coming out of Iran (or made by Iranians outside Iran). And hey, it IS an interesting, enjoyable film, to boot, even if it's a little slight. 

Oh, and if you see it, and can explain the corpse-gully, post a comment here, okay?

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