The High Priestess (Sadie Lune) and the Midwife (Dion De Rossi) encounter each other in the forest. Working their way through a series of rituals, some brutal, some sexual, some both, they prepare themselves to face the patriarchal world around them.
Spit and Ashes is visually stunning, feminist and features beautiful women. I couldn’t find a reason not to like this film even if I wanted to.
Spit and Ashes is mostly black and white, with a single scene at the end shot in color. Both parts work beautifully and the film looks simply amazing. Its visual language was probably the strongest part of the film. Although, as I write these words, feel like I have to correct myself immediately. The sound was also fantastic, as was the way the story is told.
The film makes do without dialogues, and still manages to be absolutely clear in its storytelling and what it wants to say. And it was always completely engaging. I say this as someone who is often bored by long sex scenes – and there are quite a few pornographic scenes here. There were a couple of lengths in those scenes, but Beatty did find the right balance in the end.
I also loved that while the film deals with the particular misogynist history of how witchcraft was dealt with, ultimately, it claims the power within witchcraft not just for women, but for queer people and for outsiders in general.
The film is short (only 70 minutes), but it is so densely packed that I didn’t even wish that it was longer. There was already more than enough to dissect here. I hope I get to see the film again to dive more deeply in.