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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night [Blu-ray]

 

(Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Say Ahh Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:41.493

Disc Size: 45,465,663,629 bytes

Feature Size: 22,058,151,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 21st, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Persian 1857 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1857 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Persian 1583 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1583 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Behind the Scenes Footage (20:32)

• Deleted Scenes (22:08)

• Q&A Hosted by Roger Corman at the Hammer Museum (44:18)

• Stills gallery

• Trailer (1:30)

• VICE Behind-the-Scenes Documentary (19:13)

• VICE Meets Ana Lily Amirpour and Sheila Vand (31:05)

Collectible Graphic Novels with essay by Eric Kohn

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps, and other sordid souls, is a place that reeks of death and hopelessness, where a lonely vampire is stalking the towns most unsavory inhabitants. But when boy meets girl, an unusual love story begins to blossom...blood red.


The first Iranian Vampire Western, Ana Lily Amirpour's debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave. Amped by a mix of Iranian rock, techno and Morricone-inspired riffs, its airy, anamorphic, black-and-white aesthetic and artfully drawn-out scenes combine the simmering tension of Sergio Leone with the surrealism of David Lynch.

 

 

The Film:

Combing horror, film noir and westerns, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, is a refreshing take on vampire lore.

In a fictional Iranian ghost town, a reclusive creature of the night cloaked in a chador, the Girl (Shelia Vand), exsanguinates men. But when she meets Arash (Arash Marandi), a James Dean like figure with a pet cat, her killer instincts soften.

Shot in black and white, the visuals are as striking as the original concept, and Vand illuminates the screen with a performance that seamlessly switches between stoicism and vulnerability.

Exploring gender roles and true love, A Girl’s bite is felt long after the final scene.

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail located HERE

 

By the time the vampire in the chador is skateboarding down a dark, desolate street, the director Ana Lily Amirpour has ensured that “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” will roll on in your memory. The vampire, a Persian-speaking waif called the Girl (Sheila Vand), also wears a striped fishing shirt and an occasional smear across her mouth that isn’t lipstick. She’s taken the skateboard from a nameless tyke (Milad Eghbali), whose indomitable quality and threadbare clothes evoke the children populating Abbas Kiarostami’s early films and, in turn, those of Italian neorealism. Whatever the inspiration, the kid is just one of a number of character types drifting through Ms. Amirpour’s cinematic fun house.

Shot for what seems like two well-spent dollars and change, this black-and-white movie opens with a male beauty, Arash (Arash Marandi), a gardener who’s been dolled up to resemble James Dean but looks more like a James Franco cousin. Wearing a T-shirt and jeans, his hair flopping prettily, Arash is posed in a desolate vista that brings to mind “Giant,” the 1956 wide-screen soap in which James Dean pines for Elizabeth Taylor through a fog of complications and under a coat of crude oil. (It may summon up Texas, but everyone speaks Persian, which produces a mild estrangement effect.) Arash doesn’t appear terribly tortured, though he’s burdened by his addict father, Hossein (Marshall Manesh), a swamp of misery indebted to a pimp, Saeed (Dominic Rains).

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night - "the first Iranian vampire Western" arrives on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.  The image reminds me of the thick, heavy black and white visuals of Mario Bava's Black Sunday. Shot with the Arri Alexa, this film is transferred to a dual-layered disc with a middling bitrate as it is shared with many supplements. The style precludes any tightness although close-ups look highly impressive as does the contrast in lower lighting. I don't mind the thickness and flatness of the visuals as it really seem to augment the atmosphere. The aspect ratio comes in at around 2.39:1 and the widescreen further helps any intended homage. Pretty sweet looking overall. I could drown in this image. This Blu-ray does its job and any noise or digitization only seems to help the presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber give the option of a decent DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1857 kbps or a similarly robust 2.0 channel stereo - both in the original Persian-language. It sounds fine - effects are not abundant but its the empty silences that remain haunting. There is no score per-se but we do get music; Farah's Dancing Girls, Death performing White Lies and some Persian music; Routine of Sorrow (CHARKHESH E POOCH) and Radio Tehran's Gelaye are some of the tracks played in the film and they sound exceptionally clean and moody with the stark black+white visuals. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

This is advertised as a 'Special Collector's Edition Blu-ray' and has almost 2 hour's worth of extras. This includes 20-minutes of Behind-the-Scenes footage or production, make-up etc. Plus fans of the film may wish to see the 22-minutes of 12 deleted scenes that are included for those who can't get enough of A Girl Walks Home Alone. We also get a 45-minute Q&A Hosted by Roger Corman at the Hammer Museum. There is a 20-minute VICE 'Behind-the-Scenes documentary' as well as more than 1/2 hour of VICE Meets Ana Lily Amirpour and Sheila Vand which is highly interesting. Lastly we get a stills gallery and trailer but the hefty inclusion in the package is the collectible graphic novels of A Girl Walks Home Alone with an essay by Eric Kohn.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This was wonderful. Those familiar with the horror genre will see how A Girl Who Walks Alone at Night evokes Giallo and other similar horror films almost like impressionism. I can see it not appealing to some less familiar with the sub-genre, but the heavy style is worth the viewing alone, IMO. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray has strong value for its rendition of the presentation to the extensive extras. Very strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

April 14th, 2015

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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