Style Is the Answer

By Aslı Ildır

Ana Lily Amirpour in conversation with Christoph Gröner

“Style Is the Answer”, is a song that Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour has been listening to repeatedly for the past few weeks. Playing the song at her Berlinale Talents talk “Walking Home Ideas: Inspirational Flows,” she mentioned that she has been criticized for being overly preoccupied with style. Her response to this criticism is: “Be preoccupied with whatever you want!”

As a big fan of Bruce Lee, westerns, horror films and other “weird stuff”, Amirpour is into what she suggestively describes as “the wormholes”. The idea behind her first long feature, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014) seems like one of these discoveries she made on her journey into these wormholes. A spaghetti western horror film set in an Iranian ghost town named “Bad City”, it features a young vampire woman hunting down male harassers from under the cover of her chador.

Amirpour says that she is like the mad scientist Doc Brown from the BACK TO THE FUTURE series. She accepts herself as a mad but lucky person because she has her films to apply her madness. She likes to invent things and go to extremes. Giving us her insights on the horror genre, she says, “I have no loyalty to the physics of the real world with logic. The extreme elements can help push something even more into the spotlight,” Her last film, THE BAD BATCH, which premiered in the Venice Film Festival, also looks to extremes, a cannibalistic story in the middle of the desert. “I make dark, twisted, perverted fairy tales”, she says, but she does not agree that she is preoccupied with style even though she shoots hybrid genre films. Her films defend the idea that what people feel is interconnected with the context of the world and systems that we’re living in. “Everything is politics: love, life, identity,” she says, while wearing a “Fuck Trump” hat on stage.