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The Love Witch (15) ★ Cult (Valentine’s) Film Night ★
Thu 13 February @ 8:00 pm£7 – £10
The Love Witch (15) – 2016, USA, 120 mins
Director: Anna Biller
Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. Producing spells and potions, she picks up men and seduces them.
‘Say hello to your new obsession: A spellbinding homage to old pulp paperbacks and the Technicolor melodramas of the 1960s, Anna Biller’s “The Love Witch” is a throwback that’s told with a degree of perverse conviction and studied expertise that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. Shot in velvety 35mm and seen through the lens of a playfully violent female gaze, the film follows a beautiful, narcissistic young sorceress named Elaine (Samantha Robinson, unforgettable in a demented breakthrough performance) as she blows into a coastal Californian town in desperate search of a replacement for her recently murdered husband. Sex, death, Satanic rituals, God-level costume design, ensue, as Biller spins an archly funny — but also hyper-sincere — story about the true price of the patriarchy. There hasn’t been anything quite like it in decades.
Biller shows an incredible command of tone and texture, the committed sensuality of her production design allowing her to thread the needle between camp and classicism. But the degree of consistency on display here is only possible because every department is on the same page, from the marvelously florid costumes (which Biller designed herself) to the performances of each supporting actor, all of whom is attuned to the weirdo vibes the movie is putting out there. And their faces… Biller’s greatest talent may ultimately be for casting — from the angular actor who plays Elaine’s dead ex-husband (his name is Stephen Wozniak) to the scraggly, super-thirsty professor type (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) who cries himself to death after a night of passion with Elaine, every single person who appears on screen helps strengthen the uneasy aura that the film creates.
And Robinson leads the way, taking us deep into the dark heart of a woman who’s always just wanted men to look at her like she’s a real person, but has been denied that basic respect for so long that simply meeting their gaze has reduced her into something less. Elaine thinks of herself as “just a little girl dreaming of being carried off on a white horse,” but she’s matured into a self-obsessed monster — one of the most exciting movie monsters I’ve ever seen.’
Doors open for all manner of drinks at 7pm. Film at 8pm.