‘The Love Witch’: Bloody Inspiring Feminist Tale | Film Review
“She Loved Men…To Death”.
Modern time witch, Elaine, has fled San Francisco to move to a picturesque little town with no name. Elaine seeks love, you could even say she is obsess with love. She performs rituals, prepares potions and offers them to the men she meets.
“I just use “sex magic” to make “love magic””.
The Love Witch projects us into Elaine’s fantasy world filled with witchcraft, fairytale paintings and 1960s inspired costumes, joining her psychedelic quest to find love. Convinced she can only find love by using “sex magic”, Elaine comes across men consumed with lust and who do not think twice before accepting her potion.
They inevitably cannot handle the drink which renders them weak, emotional and eventually unattractive to Elaine. She must kill them.
When Elaine refocuses her effort on a stronger police detective, prince charming turns out to be investigating her for murder and resistant to all spells. What is there to do but to kill him to? There seem to be no suitable mate for the beautiful Elaine.
“What do men want? Just a pretty women to love and to take care of them and to make them feel like a men and to give them total freedom on whatever they want to do and be”.
If Anna Biller‘s vision seems anti-feminist at first, we quickly realise there is more to Elaine than her pretty eyes and soothing voice. Biller creates a psychedelic satire, mocking the dynamics of men-women relationships in a male dominated world. If the newlyweds tied together in love with a rope wasn’t clear enough, there is always the clueless detective running around with a bloody tampon and urine filled potion.
In a world in which women are convinced that sex will bring them love and in which men are too weak to handle any kind of emotion, what is Elaine to do but to become a sociopath? But Elaine, central character and heroine to her own life, always remains in control. And if Elaine must become a sociopath, she will be a sociopath in power none the less. She decides and takes action, even if it is to rip the heart out of her unworthy lover’s chest.
Filmmaking is at its best when all areas are fully explored and no one seems to do it better than Anna Biller. Biller directed, wrote, edited and worked on production design and music for The Love Witch. The film is not set in time or in space. Filmed to look like 1960s Technicolor films (shot on 35mm), it also makes reference to Victorian tea houses, medieval fairs and cell phones, reinforcing the timelessness of the feminist issue.
The Love Witch is ravishing, grotesque, hilarious and inspiring. And if we were to replace “witch” by “women” and “spell” for “love”, perhaps it would all make more sense to the skeptics ?
“But what I am really interested in is love. You might say I’m addicted to love. I wonder if all women feel that way”.
The Love Witch by Anna Biller and staring Samantha Robinson will be release in the UK in March 2017.
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