The Love Witch (2016)

The Love Witch
Director: Anna Biller
Writer: Anna Biller
Cast: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Randy Evans
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

After a fresh start in a new town, Elaine (Samantha Robinson) is looking for love. And she’s not above using her magic trying to find it. Her love potions do work, but maybe a little too strongly and men die. And then Detective Griff (Gian Keys) starts to investigate Elaine. And Detective Griff might just be the perfect guy Elaine has been waiting for.

The Love Witch is not only a film that looks great and perfectly emulates 60s to 70s aesthetics, it’s also an extremely fascinating take on feminist discourse. I absolutely loved it.

The aesthetics of this film are simply astounding. It’s not just that the sets and costumes and make-up look like it was taken out of time, the cinematography, the special effects and the editing (all those cuts to food were simply amazing) were faithfully in the style of its time as well. Even the cast was chosen, it seems, to reflect the beauty standards of 50 years ago instead of today’s.

So we get this absolutely historic looking film and it takes up and re-examines feminist discourse that seems antiquated as well. In her search for love in the times of patriarchy, Elaine constantly crashes into and with ideals of how and who a woman should be. And yet at the same time, any real exit out of heteronormativity proves treacherous or impossible as well. Even supposed allies in the fight aren’t safe, leaving Elaine in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario in which her only strategy to deal with thing is violence.

It’s an old feminist way of thinking about things, about how heterosexual love could possibly work, befitting it’s style and making. And yet, it’s not simply a re-hash of second wave feminist thoughts, but ultimately damns any attempt of trying to simply make women equal – things have to go further and deeper. I couldn’t help but feel a little depressed of the apparent hopelessness of Elaine’s struggle.

Fortunately the film doesn’t let the feelings of depression prevail. Despite everything, it is exceptionally funny and had me laughing out loud more than once. With the music! Or the medieval fair! And I loved Elaine’s art, as I loved everything about the film.

Summarizing: Totally recommended, you should absolutely see it.

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