Give the Oscar to Kern County

A New Film Shot in the Oil Town of Taft Offers Some Unexpected Insights into the Golden State

Sure, California has everything. But where would you find a murderous, Farsi-speaking, chador-wearing vampire riding her skateboard around an oil city with the slow swagger of Clint Eastwood?

Kern County, of course.

If a place could win an Academy Award for acting, I’d nominate the county at the bottom of the Central Valley for an Oscar.

A young director named Ana Lily Amirpour—who grew up in Bakersfield, the child of Iranian immigrants—recently released a low-budget but critically acclaimed film of the kind that rarely plays in her hometown. It’s called A Girl Walks …