Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
The only way to truly honour this freaky, funny, erotically-charged homage to 70s sexploitation films is for us to show it as it was shot and intended – from a gloriously saturated new 35mm print*. Played dead straight, both director Anna Biller and her film are the real deal. Not content with writing and directing, the obsessive cineaste also designed and produced everything from the soundtrack, to the lush sets, to the outrageous costumes. Remarkably, this intensely detailed film is neither a parody nor pastiche; it is a true anomaly, a contemporary feminist tale of sex and gender politics, told within the framework of a horror sexploitation melodrama from yesteryear.
Arriving in a sleepy California town in a scarlet red convertible, sexy femme fatale Elaine begins practising witchcraft while looking for love with potions and magic. She soon starts to leave a trail of handsome beefcakes in her wake, before setting her sights on Griff, the cop investigating the deaths. Her utter desperation to win his love pushes her towards the edge of madness and murder. — AT
“It’s exhilarating and inspiring when a work of art comes along that defies all categories and upends expectations. That’s The Love Witch, an entrancing, emotional, intelligent and challenging picture that’s much more than the retro rumination some have pegged it as. The suggestion that it feels like the work of ‘the great-granddaughter of Russ Meyer’... is too easy to slap on this picture. There’s a deeper, darker undercurrent lacing every moment, and it’s uniquely its own creature.” — Kim Morgan, Sight & Sound
*35mm screening at the Hollywood only