Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour’s black-and-white Iranian vampire romance “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” which opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles, resembles many familiar places but exists firmly in fantasy. Amirpour is a British-born Iranian filmmaker who looks at the world her characters inhabit with a cockeyed lens. Her film’s fictional locale is titled Bad City (it was actually shot in California) and yet it could double for Iran or America. Amirpour explores themes of assimilation and belonging and her perspective as an immigrant filmmaker is refreshing. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is captivating because it bends genres of feminist, noir, vampire and western with truly unique results. The film also prompts a recalibration of the dynamics of love, death, family, and culture.
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is one of many recent examples of filmmakers with immigrant backgrounds reflecting on the idea of creating a new identity in an alien world. Illustrating that trend, Amirpour’s film was one of six features in the New American Filmmakers (NAF) program at the recent Hawaii International Film Festival. The series showcases “immigrant contributions to American cinema,” and emphasizes young talent, in the early stages of their careers. Their collective focus suggests an emerging new wave of filmmakers interested in similar themes.