Write a short response to:
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014: USA/Iran)
Written and Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Sheila Vand: The Girl
Arash Marandi: Arash
Marshall Manesh: Hossein “The Junkie”
Mozan Marno: Atti, the prostitute
Dominic Rains: Saaed, the pimp
Rome Shandaloo: Shaydah, the princess
Milad Eghbali: The street urchin
Ana Lily Amirpour: The skeleton party girl
Consider the following questions:
— From whose perspective do we experience the story?
— Is this a typical horror film? A typical vampire story? Why or why not?
— Are we given all of the information about the characters and their internal and external motivations clearly or do we have to infer the motivations for their behaviors? Explain.
— How do you interpret the film’s ending? Does the lack of closure feel consistent with the rest of the story. Is this a strong or a weak way to end this film in your opinion?
Begin by asking yourself how the narrative of the film is constructed. Does it have a storyline? If not, why not?
— Is the story told chronologically, or does the plot rearrange events in an unusual temporal order?
— Is there a reason for that particular plot structure?
—What in the story is left out in the actual plot construction?
— Are there reasons for including some material and omitting other material?
— Does the way the story is told become a prominent feature of the film and thus, a central factor in an analysis of it?
— Who narrates the film? Is there voice-over narration?
— Is the movie concerned with time and history, which might influence how the plot is constructed? Does it use flashbacks or, more rarely, flash forwards?
—What propels the story forward: a mystery, as in Donnie Darko, Memento or Shutter Island? A quest to find something as in Raiders of the Lost Ark? the pursuit of love as in so many Romantic Comedies or something much more complicated?
— Are there formal features, patterns, or organizational structure son the story that stand out? A series of contrasts? Repetitions? Disconnected fragments?
— Is there closure or are you left with serious questions about the story?
However, just because you are focusing on character development, or plot structure, or a particular stylistic element such as sound, cinematography or editing, does not mean that you aren’t also interpreting the cultural, philosophical or socio-political meaning of the film at the same time. For example, if you choose to analyze the character of Latika in Slumdog Millionaire, you will most likely being interpreting her role as a damsel in distress and analyzing that both in the context of the history of cinematic storytelling and in the cultural context of the Indian tradition of arranged marriage. If you are analyzing the narrative structure of City of God, issues of race and class will surely be integrated into that analysis. If you choose to focus on the editing in Persona, you will probably discuss Bergman’s existential critique of how humans make meaning and construct identities.