Just when I’d gotten over using “new” films for the weekly Midnight Screenings column, a film had to come along that would have been unethical to put anywhere but in the halls of the Midnight Screening. Next week we’ll return to older films, with an especially fitting two-fer of classic ’70s efforts important to the development of the Midnight Screening idea in real life and not simply on the internet. It promises fun, but in the meantime just check out that movie poster to the left. Seriously, even if you don’t read the review (which you absolutely should, if I have anything to say about it), just bask in the look of that poster. It speaks for itself.
It’s fitting that the year which brought us Jonathan Glazer’s wonderfully impenetrable vamp Under the Skin also sees a young whippersnapper with an almost fully formed filmic voice comes to challenge him for the title of “best pointedly empty, barren art-house quasi-vampire pic about gender with a fascinatingly obtuse visual aesthetic” of the year. Incidentally, that is a competition I did not know needed to exist, nor did I ever expect it to, but I am jumping with joy at the fact that it does.
Ana Lily Amirpour’s film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is not Glazer’s though, although they share many features. They are both style-as-substance Frankenstein’s monsters composed of the fleshiest bits of other films and styles, and both dabble in the seemingly contradictory realms of neo-realism and hyper-stylized, highly-sensory aesthetic-based filmmaking and meld their diverse cross-hatch of styles and interests together into a fully unified, totally unique voice of their own. But they are not the same, and in certain ways they are almost clearly counteracting one another.