The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015)
Note1: Aka “The Witch”. Watched it four, or is it five, times by now, the last time with my friend Lucy, who kept saying, ‘Fucking hell!’ throughout. This got me slightly worried, as I sold her “The Witch” as one of the most liberating films ever, and a must for the girls and boys who were never told that it’s okay to wish to live their life deliciously. Think she got it by the time Thomasine made her gravity-defying choice. Think Lucy and I are still friends.
Note2: On paper, it doesn’t sound all that appetising: 1630s New England, a devout Christian couple and their five children break away from their community to start a new life in the wilderness. On screen, any remaining hope that this may turn out to be a version of “Adventures of the Wilderness Family” (A super movie… That touches the heart of the family togetherness – Los Angeles Times), is quickly nipped in the bud.
“The Witch” starts as it means to go on. Stark. Menacing. Cold. Disturbing. And they all say things like canst and thou. On screen, however… The magic captures and binds.
Note3: IMDB has “The Witch” under the ‘Horror, Mystery’ genre (if I were a whistle blower, I’d take this opportunity to unmask the Global Genrefication Epidemics, or GGE for short, as yet another man-made weapon of mass destruction, designed to dumb down and disenfranchise the audiences… alas, I am not). My younger son is a big fan of horror, which kind of figures – the way I remember it, being a teenager is a bit like living inside a horror movie, and like attracts like. Well, he didn’t like it, not even after I informed him of the hidden meaning: live a life free from dogma; live according to the natural, not societal, morality; live life deliciously, etc.
Especially after that.
Note4: “The Witch” was directed by a man. Shocker. Who is this Robert Eggers?
Note1: Whoever called this a horror either didn’t watch it, or didn’t care; guess they were just doing their lazyass job. Personally, I’d put “The Witch” under the ‘Metaphysical Feminist’ category. Which in no way makes me a feminist, okay, so feel free to refrain from sending me the lesbehonest love notes.
Note2: “The Witch” is a proper real fairy tale, none of that cheerleading Disney princess crap my sister used to worship.
I remember this one time, Teodora and her slutty best friend showed up on the veranda in their bikinis, each carrying a couple of books. A rare sight indeed (the books, not the bikinis). I was sitting on my favourite branch of the old quince tree, minding my own, shooting the breeze with the hairy caterpillar crawling up and down my equally hairy legs (again: this had nothing to do with no feminism; I never shaved anything during an occasional assisted-sexual-activity hiatus), and drinking my second bottle of beer. So it wasn’t exactly as if I could get the fuck out: Teodora would’ve loved nothing better but to give Mum and Dad yet another reason to pack me off to some former Yugoslavia rehab dungeon. I had to stay put, and listen in to their ahem conversation about their favouritest ever fairy tale. They leafed through the books – Teodora had obviously stashed away the Disney-illustrated version of folk tales some dumb person had given me of all people for my like second birthday, which also happened to be the first and the last time I got to read literary Schund – and she was all, like, ‘Aw, I SO love Snow White, and how she lives with those little cute men!’, which confirmed my firm suspicion that she was a crazy out-of-control nympho. And her stupid friend went on and on about Sleeping Beauty, ‘OH, look at her SKIN! Isn’t she simply ADORABLE? Like an angel who eats rose petals for breakfast, lunch and dinner! And her Prince – the way he kisses her! How ROMANTIC! SO wish I was her!’, until I could take no more.
‘Listen up, Barbies!’ I shouted down from high above. ‘In the original version of Sleeping Beauty, a king is wandering through the forest until he comes across a castle. He looks around, comes upon a beautiful woman who will not wake. Overcome by desire, he rapes her. Is that what you want? To be raped in your sleep?’
Needless to say, Teodora told on me. But it was so worth it, because I made her friend not only cry but also leave and never come back. And so I lived happily ever after (sort of).
Note3: Just like real life, this movie has blood and gore and relentless bleakness. It also has the baby-stealing witches roaming the land, looking for a deserving new recruit – again, just like real life.
Note4: The best thing: Thomasine, whose name as well as face I did find annoying at first, manages to shake off her entire family by the end. Now that’s what I call magic.