#venezia73 The Bad Batch by Ana Lily Amirpour: A Sophomore Slump

Despite the high budget and the Special Jury Prize won at Venice Film Festival, “The Bad Batch” disappoints the expectations arose from her feature film debut, the b/w vampire western “A girl walks home alone at night”.

Words by Alexander Darkish
Photographs by Jeva Griskjane, Alessio Costantino, Andrea Spinelli

Following the same western path and confirming once again her visual talent, Ana Lily Amirpour portrays a cannibal love story in a dystopian society of no longer wanted outlaws, exiled in the mexican desert, focusing on a woman who wanders uneasily in this wasteland full of fanatics devoted to Keanu Reeves and the “Dream”, a clearly close reference to the American Dream.Apart from the outstanding opening sequence the film doesn’t fully convince.

I met her after the screenings at 73 Venice Film Festival and honestly confessed my disappointment, predicting that the third film will be fantastic.

Photography: Andrea Spinelli
Photography: Andrea Spinelli

During the press conference a quite funny episode occurred…
Yes! An italian journalist was really upset because of the violence in the movie. The other woman replied saying that the Pope wouldn’t like it. “Violence begets violence” she said. I’m thinking to put it in the dvd Box: “ The Pope says no, the Pope doesn’t like this movie”.

Are you fully convinced about “The Bad Batch”?
I believe in the experience of the film in the sense of writing, preparing, shooting it.  All of the making to the end I was doing what I knew I wanted to do.  Now it doesn’t belong to me anymore. I just want to make the third. Did you like it?
I honestly preferred “A girl walks home alone at night”.

What I really like is the way you create fictitious contexts not too far from the reality. “Comfort” to me is also a metaphor of the american society of the origins and society of today.

To some degrees yes, but I think it’s every society and it’s related to human functions in general. I definitely have a strong attraction to people that everyone ignores, people that don’t fit properly in the society. Comfort in this way looks like the “Bad City”.

Photography: Alessio Costantino
Photography: Alessio Costantino

The dichotomy between characters is pretty interesting as well: People full of useless muscles and on the other hand the amputee protagonist who really needs prothesis in order to walk…
There is many ways to look at it. There was a time when people needed muscles. It was an instinctual requirement to deal with the physical world. Look at the vikings for instance.  The movie characters are a reflection of the contemporary society laden with excesses.  It’s basically all about the show, the cult and its leader, The Dream (Keanu Reeves).

What about skateboarding in your films. Is it related to your personal experience and to some ideas you have? is it also a Vice thing?
Skateboarding is all about testing yourself, the limits of what you can do, looking at the environment in a different way. That takes bravery and the consequences are that you are falling down on earth, with pain. You have to get up and try over and over again. Doing it I learnt more about myself and about filmmaking and I can say at some point skateboarding saved my life. So It’s definitely not a Vice thing! We are having creative intercourse. They like me and I like them. But I’m still myself.

You experienced already the Catholic criticism. What do you think will be the feminist criticism reaction?
(She laughs) I don’t really care.

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