Ana Lily Amirpour’s sensational feature debut is rightly regarded as one of the most innovative takes on the vampire genre in recent years. Filmed in luminous black and white and with the tag line, “the first Iranian Vampire Western”, it’s the hippest of genre-mashups - a delirious mix of Jim Jarmusch retro-cool, David Lynch industrial landscapes, and Ennio Morricone-inspired spaghetti western scoring.
Bad City is an Iranian Sin City, and as in Frank Miller’s graphic novel, it’s riddled with gangsters, drug-dealers, prostitutes, and murder. In this self-contained world, The Girl (Sheila Vand) lives alone, dresses in Breton-shirts-and-trainers, spins vinyl, and consumes US pop culture. At night she takes a skateboard into town, and becomes an enigmatic silent avenger.
Initially kickstarted by a crowdfunding campaign, the film was completed in 2014 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Set in Iran with dialogue entirely in Farsi, the film was shot in Taft, California, just west of Amirpour’s hometown of Bakersfield with a cast of first- and second-generation Iranian immigrants, including Silicon Valley native Vand, and Arash Marandi – the “Iranian James Dean” – who grew up in Germany.
To prepare for the film the director requested her team watch three films: Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumblefish (1983), David Lynch’s Wild at Heart (1990) and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) - but despite these, and many other clear cinematic influences, the film is still fresh and startlingly original. One critic wrote, “The film blends horror, romance and violence in a way that defies strict categorization, and like The Girl herself, is never absolute, leaving the audience with something that feels entirely unique.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to see this gorgeous film in our stunning big screen presentation.
Presented in partnership with the National Film & Television School.